When it comes to working with volunteers there are two dangerous mindsets in which leaders must fight. Each mindset is dangerous because it comes with false beliefs and it informs poor leadership action.
The first mindset is what many struggle with: “I do not have enough volunteers.”
Let’s be honest, every leader has struggled with this mindset at some point. Over time the responsibilities of a team increase and at the same time there is a lifecycle of people serving on the team. Over time the need (stuff to do) exceeds the resources (the team of volunteers to get it all done).
This mindset is dangerous because it sets into action a poverty mentality. When a person slips into a poverty mentality they begin listening to pressure before wisdom. The lottery system is a great example of this – people using the little bit of resources they have as a Hail Mary attempt to win big. When a leader adopts the mindset they do not have enough volunteers they will begin simply filling spots which is more about the insecurity of the leader than the wiring of the volunteer.
The second mindset is equally dangerous as it says: “I do not need any more volunteers.”
If you are reading this you might think, “I would KILL to be able to have that mindset!” There is still great danger in this abundance mentality. The nature of our resources is to expand to fill the extent of our capacity. When this happens it is natural to embrace the false belief that your job is done – no more volunteers needed! In this mindset there is a poor leadership action, which results – you stop recruiting.
We must find a balance between these two extremes as we lead. Here are two truths to hold onto as you lead volunteers:
- God will provide the people needed in each role – your job as a leader is to care for people by helping them find their right spot.
- There must always be space for more people to serve. More volunteers = more life-change in God’s economy.