Training Your Greatest Ministry Asset
Once you have recruited a volunteer – moving them from a come-and-see to a come-and-serve mindset – you’ll need to train them. Training – and we’ll focus specifically on two types of training: orientation training and ongoing training – allows you to communicate expectations, prepare volunteers for service, and impart wisdom.
Orientation training helps your volunteers understand the role, responsibilities, and expected outcomes of the assignment. The objective in developing good orientation training is to give your volunteers the minimum guidance, information and instruction necessary to complete the assignment well, all while helping your volunteers gain confidence.
Ongoing training is focused on life-skills development – helping your volunteers becoming a better version of themselves.
This type of ongoing training communicates that you care about them as people – not just in a ministry capacity – and that you will pour into them to make them better in all aspects of their lives.
As you develop your training, keep it:
Understand the purpose or scope of your meetings and tailor your information and activities to that single purpose.
Volunteer training that works in one department of your church will likely be useful – with a few modifications – in others.
As you grow, your processes will need to be able to adjust to account for the number of volunteers you have.
If something isn’t working, scrap it. Keep the focus on outcomes, engagement, participation, and productivity.
Training your volunteers takes commitment, time, effort and energy – and it’s worth it.
When you make a commitment to training your volunteers, you’ll find that your training will keep everyone focused on growth, your volunteers will become influential members of your congregation, and you’ll better be able to anticipate what’s next.
Placing Your Greatest Ministry Asset
Placement isn’t about staffing a team of random people; it’s about knowing enough about each individual to offer a customized volunteer opportunity to fit their specific interests, skills, passions and gifts.
But how do we really get to know so many people in order to place them according to their innermost passions and gifts?
Getting to know a lot of people intimately is much like completing a jigsaw puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle has a grand picture on the outside, but inside there are hundreds or thousands of pieces that make up the complete picture – and the same is true with your church.
The key is looking at the placement of a volunteer the same way you’d start to assemble a jigsaw puzzle – by learning the basics about them (placing corners and edges) – and creating your puzzle’s ‘frame.’ Only then will you get a sense of who the person is and in time through observation, feedback and results, you will be able to place various inside pieces, allowing you to see and understand even more about the person.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the jigsaw puzzle placement process:
- You don’t need to know everything about your volunteers and often, it’s better to begin with basics, collecting knowledge and details about them along the way.
- You do need to know enough about people – know what they value most – to make thoughtful placements. When you know what person values most in the world, you can make a more accurate initial placement decision.
- You do need to record what you learn about people. Your church management system is an investment in ministry – not an expense of ministry – and is a way to connect more people with ministry quicker and easier.
And much like fitting puzzle pieces together, you’ll find that your initial impressions and approaches to placement won’t always be the best fit. No problem. Just adjust a corner piece and some of the edge pieces to make it work.
Placement is about getting the right person in the right place at the right time.
And when done well, placement will require more time and effort on the front end – but the payoff will be well worth it. Your constant attention and adjustment will be rewarded. In time, your volunteers grow and evolve, and you’ll become more adept at fitting more pieces into the jigsaw puzzle, thoughtfully placing each one of your volunteers exactly where they should be.