There are a couple of volunteer teams which I have the honor of working directly alongside here at 12Stone. One of those teams is our Parking Warriors – a group of committed individuals who ensure that the first impression and last impression here at the church is as good as can be. We call them warriors because they are out there fighting to create a safe and welcoming experience no matter the conditions outside.
Recently we have begun talking with the parking team about the people who are not yet on the team, but need to be on the team. When you work with a volunteer team you know the pressure of trying to ensure the right number of people participate each week. As soon as we start talking about needs and the desire to get more people on the team most people default to a line of thinking that says, “we need more help!”
With our parking team, I am asking them to adjust their perspective, and I invite you to adjust your perspective along the way as well. If you are a leader of volunteers in any way I want to encourage you to start with them…not with you.
What the heck does that mean?
It is far too easy to think about adding volunteers in terms of what it means for me. I feel a pressure…I have a need…and more volunteers will solve that pressure in some way. That is a perspective that starts with me.
The appropriate perspective starts with them, not me. Whether I need more or less volunteers is not the driving factor when we seek to add people to the team. I will often go so far as to say, “we do not need more volunteers.”
So why add people to the team?
When my perspective starts with “them” (those not yet on the team) I realize that there are people who desperately need the experience of being on our team. They need to experience the joy of serving and being used by God, they need the community and transformation that happens when you belong on a team.
That is why we create opportunities to serve. That is why we fight hard to help get people onto our teams. It is not out of our need that we bring on new volunteers. We invite people onto our team because we are aware that people cannot become all God intends them to be without the experience of participating on our team.