The Most Effective (and Most Unused) Volunteer Tool
Published: June 5, 2023
Are you tapping into the most effective—and most unused —volunteer tool to connect with your ministry volunteers? Try these three easy tips to make a powerful impact.
Stories. They’re powerful and free, and my guess is you aren’t using them nearly enough with your volunteers. We say we want to be like Jesus, so why don’t we let the way he communicated infiltrate our ministries? After all, our volunteers aren’t just there to serve; we have an opportunity to serve them and minister to them as well. Jesus captured hearts and minds when he used stories. He knew how to make them powerful, and we can gain vision on where to use them with our volunteers, too. Here are some ideas.
Utilizing Stories as a Volunteer Tool
1. Train with your stories.
Rules and mandates are necessary to keep everyone safe. When you incorporate stories into this time, the rules gain meaning. Share powerful stories from the news, from other ministries, or from your own ministry. These tangible examples can help volunteers retain what they learned and inspire them to enforce the necessary rules that keep your ministry enjoyable.
2. Align volunteers with your stories.
Gossip, complaining, and disagreements can potentially turn an amazing group into one that’s splintering. If it happened with the disciples, our teams are vulnerable to it, too. Stories are a surprising way to reverse, or even avoid, this dynamic. Share the story of the boy who decided to follow Jesus to remind volunteers why they’re there. Remind them of unity with stories of things they accomplished together. Or paint a vision of what your ministry could be using someone else’s story.
3. Motivate with your stories.
Volunteering can be exhausting. But hearing about exciting things happening in the ministry is a game changer. When volunteers hear, “The visiting family just shared that they came back because our greeters remembered their names,” that 15 minutes of holding a door becomes a calling.
Quick Tips for Sharing Stories
- Collect stories. Pay attention and record them.
- Have a regular story time at leader meetings.
- Keep stories short and to the point.
- Ask volunteers and kids to share their stories.
- Don’t just recite; consider what makes the story meaningful before sharing.
Jill Fox is the co-author of The Volunteer Church and Volunteering.
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