If your volunteer staff seems like a group of misfits,
take another look at their personalities.
Six months ago, Holly asked Carol how she could help with the
children's ministry. Holly's genuine enthusiasm about the children
lifted Carol's spirits. The most urgent need was to keep the supply
closet stocked and manage the attendance rosters. Willing to help
in any way she could, Holly eagerly accepted the assignment.
But now her enthusiasm has waned. She still loves the children
but she wants to quit helping with the children's ministry.
What went wrong?
Carol actually helped cause Holly's failure because she didn't
match Holly's personality to the appropriate job task. Holly was a
battery-powered microphone doing a pegboard's job.
If you're experiencing high volunteer turnover or frustration in
your ministry, you may also have ministry "misfits." Here's what
you can do about it.
KNOW YOUR VOLUNTEERS
Observe your volunteers to figure out the two most important
personality traits: extroversion vs. introversion and people-focus
To determine if someone is an extrovert or an introvert,
consider: Does the person gravitate toward doing things with many
people, or alone or with one or two others? For example, is the
person more likely to volunteer to lead a drama team (extrovert) or
to help prepare the props and costumes or write the script
To determine if someone is more people-focused or more
task-focused, consider: Is the person more naturally concerned
about people or about details of a task? For example, would the
person be more effective at motivating others to get excited about
the upcoming VBS plan (people-focused) or helping to create the
If you can't figure people out, just ask.
CUSTOM-FIT VOLUNTEERS TO TASKS
Once you've figured out your volunteers' personality types, you
can fit them into one of the following categories: toy soldier,
pegboard, battery-powered microphone, or teddy bear. Then use this
chart to match your volunteers to tasks. If you do, your volunteers
will have the duties they'll enjoy most and be the best at.
Toy Soldier Extrovert, Task-Focused
Role: Toy soldiers focus well on the big
picture of what's going on. They'll help make things happen and
Most fulfilling tasks: Toy soldiers are comfortable with
leadership and enjoy a sense of control. Invite them to organize
activities and parties, organize and run fund-raisers, oversee a
special project or team, serve on a task force to determine
ministry goals, or drive the church bus.
Needs from others: Toy soldiers need pegboards to watch out for
the details. They need battery-powered microphones and teddy bears
to help children feel welcome and loved.
Meaningful affirmations: Show support by offering to help
execute their plans. Invite a toy soldier to lunch to discuss the
overview of the children's ministry at your church.
Effective "corrections": "You can help us better meet our goal
if you would change the way you..." "We need you to use your
leadership skills to help turn this around..."
How to recruit/motivate: "You can help us with our ministry