Leading Small With Leaders

by Courtney Templeton

So you’ve got a team of volunteers. They’ve signed up, been trained, they know what to do in case of a fire, they know the in’s and out’s of how a 4th-grade boy’s brain works, they’ve got their T-shirt, they’re good to go.

Now what?

Now you focus on keeping them. One of the best ways to keep your volunteers connected is to lead small.

Wait a minute. I thought leading small is what the volunteers are supposed to be doing. That is the small group leaders’ job.

You are absolutely right. It is. And it’s yours too. Let me explain.

You need to be as in tune with who your leaders are and how they are doing as much as you are in tune with what they are doing for you. You need to know what’s going on in their lives. Have fun with them. Appreciate them. OFTEN.

So, how do you lead small as a leader? Here are a few ideas:

  • Make sure the number of volunteers you are leading is a manageable number. Are you directly leading more than 10 to 12 people? If you are, chances are good you don’t know all of them well. How could you? Maybe it’s time to create a team of coaches that lead a group of small group leaders. You lead the coaches, they lead the small group leaders, they lead the kids. See how everyone has their own “small group” to invest in?
  • Structure your time and resources so that they reflect this as a priority. What does your schedule look like? Is there any time set aside for connecting with your leaders? Go grab a cup of coffee or lunch during the week. Shoot out some random texts just letting them know you are praying for them. Stick a hand-written note in the mail. Plan a get together where the only agenda is FUN.
  • Serve them well. Equip them with all they need to be the best volunteer they can be. Do everything you can to make their job as easy as possible. Remember they are giving their time—for free—to serve in ministry. Don’t treat them like an employee. Appreciate them. Care for them. Dream about your ministry with them. Pray for them.

People want to be known, to feel connected. This isn’t going to happen if the only conversations you have with your volunteers involve asking them for something or telling them what they should be doing each week. If you want them to value their commitment, then prove to them that they are valuable.

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