August 7, 2015

Addition Mentality vs. Multiplication Mentality: Volunteers

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“If we can just get 5 more teachers for our children’s ministry and 4 more nursery workers and 7 more people who will help with tear down and set up we will be golden.”  Sound familiar? This is the time of year that volunteer recruiting is on the minds of leaders as they move toward the “fall kick off” and they are scrambling to get just a few more workers to make everything work.

Recruiting, developing, motivating volunteer workers in churches and organization is very difficult.  Especially when leaders, pastors and staff members approach it with an addition mentality rather than a multiplication mentality.  Let’s contrast the two approaches.

Addition Mentality:

Leadership and volunteer pools develop sporadically and only among the “super-mature” or “hyper-available” (often these people become staff members by default due to a lack of development of leaders of leaders.)  In the addition scenario volunteers may or may not meet with ministry leaders; vision casting is sporadic; ministry reports are seldom taken; training seldom happens; pulpit announcements and sign-up sheets are often the primary method of recruiting.

Multiplication Mentality:

Pastors and staff develop leaders of leaders who develop leaders who develop workers who are developed into leaders and then in turn into leaders of leaders. In this scenario the flywheel of multiplication begins to move.  In order to get these results leaders meet regularly with ministry leaders and other workers; vision casting is systematic and frequent; ministry reports are taken by ministry leaders; life on life training with ministry leaders and skill building with pastors and staff happens on a regular cycle.  Most church members know exactly how to enter into this process and actually look forward to participating!

Multiplication results from the development of a regular, celebratory, safe and empowering environment for leadership development.  I call it the “Leadership Community.”  In the next few posts we will talk about the development of this kind of community and what it can do for the development of volunteers, ministry leaders and those who lead ministry leaders.

What is working in your context to develop ministry volunteers?

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