Getting the Right Person to Volunteer.

Bigstock Volunteer message and red penc 27133619 Jim Collins says: get the right people on the bus and those people in the right seats on the bus.  That is imperative in business but what about in the volunteer ministry positions in a church.  

It is even more important.
There always seems to be a place where people are needed in the church organization. There always seems to be some minister or ministry leader placing an advertisement for a person to fill a 'hole.' Too many times that becomes exactly what happens. We fill the 'hole' but with the person who cares about the organization and not necessarily with the person who is passionate about the specific ministry, has the skill to carry out the ministry or even feels called to help. Often they just don't know how to say 'no.'
The wrong reasons people say yes:
  • guilt…
  • don't want the ministry to suffer
  • persuasion of the recruiter
The results of saying yes for the wrong reasons:
  • will not stay long in the ministry
  • becomes frustrated because they don't have the skills
  • the ministry suffers because the person's passion and skills are not aligned
  • because of a bad experience in the wrong ministry place, hesitates to say yes to the right placement
How do we get the right people in the right place of ministry?
Clearly define the ministry position including expectations and time commitments
Give the person permission to say 'no'
We have clearly defined each ministry position by creating a 'job description' for every place a volunteer is needed. In that ministry position job description we have outlined:
  • ministry area
  • ministry position
  • ministry type
  • core responsibility
  • qualifications
  • responsibilities
  • expectations
  • time requirements
When we approach someone about filling a ministry position we can use the written job description to guide our conversation. If we are clear about the responsibilities, qualifications, expectations and time requirements, we have found we get a person knowing exactly what they are saying yes to. When an informed person says 'yes' we get someone who:
  • enjoys the ministry placement
  • serves for a long period of time
  • is successful and helps multiply other leaders
We believe
  • that God gifts people for ministry
  • that every believer should be active in some type of ministry
  • and that every believer only has to say 'yes' to one ministry
As Jim Collins says: get the right people on the bus, and the right people in the correct seats because it is much easier than getting the wrong people out of the seats and off the bus.
Have you taken the time to create job descriptions for all your volunteer ministry positions?
Here is an example of one of the ministry job descriptions that we have created.
Worship Job Description

Giving Permission to be Honest

Do you have someone in your life who you give permission to be honest with you? Permission to speak

God gives us great examples and resources for being a leader in His Word. One of the greatest examples of a leader is King David. God must have wanted us to learn much from David as there is a good portion of the Old Testament dedicated to his life.
There are many things we can learn from David about organization, rallying our team, how to seek forgiveness, compassion for family and close colleagues. And recently reading through the events of David's life I learned the importance of something else: 'always have someone who you allow to speak honestly with you, to you and about you.'
In the book of 2 Samuel chapter 19 we find the scene where David is mourning the death of his son. He is so involved in his own emotions that he is neglecting his family and other followers. Enter Joab, one of David's confidants. Joab has seen how David's hysterical mourning over his son is affecting the moral of his team. Joab then lays into David telling him exactly what his actions are doing to his team.
Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, "Today you have shamed all your soldiers….  Today you have made it clear that the commanders and soldiers mean nothing to you… Now get up! Go out and encourage your soldiers, for I swear if you don't go out, not a man will remain with you tonight." 2 Samuel 19:5-7 selected
That speech took some courage and I don't think it would have been able to happen unless:
  • David and Joab had a good relationship
  • there had been previous open and honest conversations in the past
  • Joab cared for David
So it brings me back to the opening question: do you have someone in your life who you give permission to be honest with you?
As I get older I see a great importance in this. I realize that I need it now and I wish I had been brave enough to have someone like Joab in my life when I was younger.
So…do you?

Correct Mistakes With Love

In some cases ignoring mistakes can be worse than bringing attention to them. We, a large portion of our staff, has been challenged by our boss to memorize a large portion of scripture during 2012. We are all doing it together.

Each time we gather as a staff to meet, someone gets the chance to recite what they have memorized. (It's volunteer so no one is put on the spot.)

Two weeks ago I took my turn...I took off and quoted 9 or 10 verses.

Skip to this week, it was someone else's turn and they did a great job. During their recitation I realized I had left out a verse when I spoke the last time and said so to the group. A few people spoke up and said they had noticed... big deal

...but because they didn't bring attention to my mistake I had spent the next two weeks making the same mistake over and over again.

It's okay to mention to people when they are making a mistake if we do so in love. Gentle, humble correction is a great blessing. Notice I said gentle, humble correction...

How could the team correct my mistake?

Speak to me in private, showing and explaining my mistake.

That's it. Correct in love.

What if my reaction was unaccepting?

You did your job showing and trying to correct my mistake. If the mistake was causing harm to others and I was not willing to change, then it is your responsibility to talk to my supervisor and together speak to me again about the mistake. If I still won't change then I must endure the consequences of my actions.

That wasn't the case here. It was a simple mistake and easily corrected. I'm glad they did, I just wish they had done so earlier.

Have you ever been faced with a situation where your mistake wasn't corrected?



Twelve Leadership Lessons from Clifton Lambreth

This morning I was privileged to attend  a Business Men’s Breakfast at West Franklin Baptist Church. A friend Kevin Lacey invited using Linkedin. The invitation included information on who would be speaking, Clifton Lambreth a former Ford Motor Company Executive. Although I did not know anything about the speaker I am always open to hearing from leaders and trying to learn as much as I can from them. During Mr. Lambreth’s introduction I learned that he had worked at Ford Motor Company for 26 years and now does consulting working in the automobile industry as well as being speaking to leaders and organizations. I also learned that he is the author of two books:

Ford and the American Dream: Founded on Right Decisions

Return to Greatness: Driving the American Dream

His talk centered on twelve lessons of leadership that can revive a company. But before jumping into the twelve lessons he made these two statements:

Do the right thing, with the right motivation, then you get the right results and you can earn the right to expect others to do the same.

Never is it the wrong time to do the right thing.

Here are the twelve steps.

  1. Simplify Products and Processes
  2. Inspirational or Informational
    • Most problems are either lack of inspiration or lack of information
  3. Self-Serving vs. Servant Leadership
    • It’s no longer ‘command and control’ market. (Most business work under the military model of ‘do as I say.’ That no longer works.)
  4. Develop an environment that encourages ‘truth tellers’
    • Open, honest communication produces better products, services and processes
  5. Listen to the “Voices”
    • Customers – Employees - Competition
  6. Decentralize Decision Making
  7. A Company’s greatest assets are not their fixed assets but their people.
  8. Common Sense is not always common practice
    • Get back to thinking simple and applying common sense…it’s not complicated.
  9. Compensation must be tied to doing the right thing.
  10. Develop Leaders at all levels
  11. Beware of CAVE People
    • Collectively Against Virtually Everything
    • Negative people will bring down the moral and productivity of the company.
  12. Problems are opportunities to excel.

I can’t wait to dig into Mr. Lambreth’s two books and unpack more information about what he communicated today.

Performing a Event Post-Mortem

Just recently I was invited to talk with a group of healthcare professionals who had just witnessed and participated in an emergency where there was little hope of success. Their leader recognized that at the end of the emergency the whole team needed a chance to talk, perform a ‘post-mortem’ of the event. It reminded me of the importance of being intentional to evaluate big events. Here some questions they asked and observations they made about how they handled the situation that can help all of us evaluate an event.

Were we true to our core values and business objectives?

Did we do all we could? They answered yes.

Were we prepared? They answered yes.

Are there any regrets? No…again they felt they did all they could do.

Supervisors acknowledged the excellence of the teamwork.

Proper training led to success. All their years of training had helped them.

Proper training led to someone taking charge. When the time came someone took charge.

Many volunteered to help (even though it was not their area)

Training is crucial to being prepared.

Training led to the right person stepping up as leader of the team.

Training led to a yes answer to this question: did we do all we could do?

Training led to a yes answer to this question: do we have any regrets concerning our actions.

Do you feel it is important to do this type of 'after event' examination? Is there a formula that you follow for such an examination?

A Leader’s Heart, leadership examples from the ultimate source.

A leader in any organization should always be on the lookout for positive examples of leadership. It is from these examples that leaders find wisdom and knowledge for the decisions they must make. Author and speaker John Maxwell has made a career of extracting leadership examples from life situations and sharing them in his books. In A Leader’s Heart Maxwell uses examples from the greatest book ever written to create a 365 day devotional. On the title page for the month of January Maxwell writes: “The call to leadership is a consistent pattern in the Bible.” As a student of the Bible I have always found the best leadership examples in its pages. With great insight Maxwell helps the reader of A Leader’s Heart journey through these examples in a short daily scripture reading with comments about leadership on each section. I was apprehensive to begin this book thinking it would be another light gift book. I was pleasantly surprised at its content. Granted most of the passages that Maxwell writes are taken from his other books.

When reading this book I noticed that much of its content was credited from another resource “The Maxwell Leadership Bible.” I have since purchased this book also and found  another publication from Thomas Nelson Publishers; a New King James edition of the Bible with more detail comments on leadership.

I would recommend both of these books for anyone who is looking for great examples of leadership and leadership characteristics.


This post is my participation in the book review series "Booksneeze." Thomas Nelson Publishers provided the book.