One of the biggest questions asked is: How do you lead volunteers you’ve inherited when you begin at a new church? I do have to say, it’s tough. I’m living through it right now. Yes, it’s a lot of work but when done right it has its rewards. Here is a couple of things to keep in mind:
There needs to be a ton of relational groundwork. Coming in, you don’t know them, they don’t know you. We started doing once a month leader hang outs. I had them over to my house for a BBQ, we took over a banquet room in a local pizza place, we are having a Christmas party here in a few weeks. There has been lots of coffee and food in my first few months because if leaders get to know you they begin to trust you.
Don’t change anything up front. I just sat back and watch, see how things are done. I only changed easy, program stuff, stuff everyone wants to get better. I worked on the cosmetics of the ministry, not the bone structure. There is a time for it but not right when you get there. Find out what everyone wants changed and be the champion of that thing and you get instant by-in.
After prayer and thoughtful planning, begin to unveil the vision you want to take the ministry. I came out with a 3 year, “let’s do this to get healthy” plan and our leaders bought in hard. Doing something along these lines shows I’m here for the long haul and leaders love to know you are there to stay (well most of them).
A majority of my time is spent with our leaders, not students. If I can get them to do what I do with them (invest in them, ask questions, hang out, etc) and they do those things with students I know we will be unstoppable. It’s crazy because I got into to student ministry because I love hanging with students. I do still get to hang with them, just not all of them in the way I wish I could. So my time with leaders is valuable because I know I can multiply myself and make sure students are being invested n by another caring adult.
I’m in a learning process. All of these things might not work for you but from what I can see they are working for me in this moment and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m pumped to see the time invested with my leaders pay off in the future because I know God will move through them because they are a passionate bunch.