The Big Key to Keeping Volunteers Passionate About Your Ministry by Dale Hudson
Do you have volunteers who are just going through the motions? Have they lost their passion? Have they grown “weary in well-doing” as the Bible describes in Galatians 6:9?
It doesn’t have to be that way. If you do this one big thing, you can see your volunteers stay fired up and passionate about the ministry.
Here’s the big key. Keep taking them back to the “WHY.” If I may, let me share some observations about this.
Observation #1 – If you don’t focus on the why, the what will take over because it is the most obvious. The why is not as immediatly visible as the what. Let me give you an example. For someone who volunteers in the nursery, changing diapers (the what) is a lot more tangible than the why (seeing lives changed). For someone who teaches 3rd graders, the what (telling a Bible story) is a lot more tangible than the why (seeing the kids grow up to love Jesus). The natural tendency is for the what to overshadow the why.
Observation #2 – If you don’t keep taking people back to the why, it will be forgotten. Volunteers won’t forget the what. They do the what week in and week out. They greet, they hand out crafts, they lead songs, they hold babies, they lead a small group, they pray with kids, they teach preschoolers and all the other what’s of ministry. But the why…if you don’t take people back to it, can be forgotten over time. People will forget why they are doing the what’s listed above.
Observation #3 – If you will keep your volunteers focused on the why, they will remain faithful in the what. When volunteers only see the what, they get burned out. When volunteers only see the what, they lose their passion. When volunteers only see the what, they get discouraged. But when volunteers see the why, they will stay faithful in the what.
Observation #4 – You have to be intentional about keeping your volunteers focused on the why. The why doesn’t promote itself, you have to be the promoter. The why won’t tell its own stories, you have to be the storyteller. The why won’t celebrate itself, you have to do that.
When a child steps across the line of faith, let your volunteers know…that’s the why. When a young couple’s marriage is healed because the volunteers helped watch their baby while they were in a marriage class, let your volunteers know…that’s the why. When new families walk in your church doors, let your volunteers know, that’s the why. When a child is baptized, let your volunteers know, that’s the why. When kids live out their faith, let your volunteers know, that’s the why. When a family is reached for Christ, let your volunteers know, that’s the why.
Observation #5 – The why is what fuels people’s passion. Volunteers long to be part of something bigger than themselves. Volunteers want to know they are making a difference. Volunteers yearn to be used by God. When you show them how it’s happening and they feel the joy and satisfaction that comes from it, they will stay fired up.
Volunteers won’t stay passionate about changing a diaper, but they will stay passionate about being part of changing a life through serving in the nursery. Volunteers won’t stay passionate about corralling a group of energetic 3rd grade boys, but they will stay passionate about laying a foundation for kids to build their life upon. Volunteers won’t stay passionate about doing crafts with preschoolers, but they will stay passionate about ministering to children at the most critical time of their life.
The what…is the car. The why is the fuel that will keep it going. Make sure you keep your volunteers’ tanks full!