How to have Passionate Volunteers That Keep Coming Back

When you’re a boss with paid employees, it’s easy to give orders and get things done. But when you have volunteers that choose to give up their spare time to help, it takes much more to get them there, keep them motivated, and possibly most important, keep them coming back.festival-hands-up-people-partying-picjumbo-com

From my experience of being a volunteer, and having volunteers under me, these are four crucial principles for interacting with your volunteers.

Just was a quick side note, this should not be seen as a way to manipulate people. This is simply you striving to be a better leader to those around you. Ok, let’s dive in.

 

  1. Remind them of why they’re there. When you do run your events week after week it’s easy to get lost in the busyness of it all. So it’s important for you, the leader, to remind your volunteers of the importance of their role, and also the impact they are having on the world.

    For example, I used to help with a children’s program for 1st-6th graders at a church. I was only there for a year, and had very little interaction with my small group. But recently I ran into one of my guys, who’s in middle school now. He informed me that there was just something about our time together that really encouraged him to grow in the Lord. Please hear me when I say I’m not trying to brag. What I hope you understand is that while I didn’t see anything particularly life-altering about our small group time, it had an impact on this kid. Hey, you never know.

  2. Have fun. Don’t be that guy that’s super serious and all business. No one likes that guy. Do your tasks, make sure things get done, but have fun with it. Crack jokes, be a little goofy. Maybe even playa prank once in a while (harmless ones, of course). Your volunteers might have hard jobs, but it doesn’t have to be boring.
  3. Do things with excellence. Have you ever had a job that you looked at and thought, “I am really proud of the work I did.” That’s the feeling you want people to walk away with when they volunteer. It’s a contagious feeling, and makes you want to come back for more. Maintaining high standards helps people appreciate what they’re doing.
  4. Correct problems with grace. Obviously, problems arise everywhere. How you handle them says a lot about you as a leader. I’ve had plenty of times when people under me made a mistake, and I handled it badly. When correcting someone, always listen to their side, don’t jump to conclusions, and correct in a way that builds them up. The Apostle Peter is famous for denying Christ three times. But when Jesus had the chance to talk to him about it, he was calm, and strengthened and encouraged Peter for the future.

Evangelism Should Be Like A Backpack

My backpack has been to MANY places. Traveling to friends’ houses, different countries, cars, busses, and more. In fact, with every compartment, seat, and floor it’s been on, it should probably have a biohazard sign on it. Confession: I only now realized that you can actually wash these things.

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As I thought about it, a question came to mind. What is a backpack for, exactly? Well, since you asked, and I’m so happy to oblige, I came up with my own loose definition: a utilitarian bag designed to carry objects from one location to another. (Pretty good, right? Okay, enough with the self-flattery).

 

Now enter Matthew 28:19, the famous missionary verse. The “Great Commission” itself. What’s the command here? “Go.” So what’s this have to do with a backpack? A backpack is only good if it’s being used, if it fulfills its purpose. It’s meant to carry things from one place to another, not sit in the back of your closet collecting dust.

 

Just like this, you and I are fulfilled in our purpose when we carry the gospel to those around us. Everywhere. Don’t start with another country. Start with your neighbors, start with your street. SO why don’t you dust off that old backpack, pack a lunch, go for a hike, and think of how you can start some conversations with your neighbors.

 

Then dust off your Bible, pack a lunch, and go carry the good news to someone today.

What I Learned About Customer Service from Moody Publishers

Maybe this is the nerd part of me, but I love the designs of Bibles. If you use an English Bible, you are spoiled. There’s probably thousands of options and choices. In 2005, I was given a Charles Ryrie KJV Study Bible by my Grandparents as a gift. My grandpa was a pastor for most of his life, she knew a thing about good study Bibles (sorry McArthur fans). It’s the one I used for studying all throughout my 2 years at Word of Life Bible Institute (I even got it signed by Charles Ryrie!)

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But it had one major problem: the binding was bad, and a small portion in the back fell out. I decided to live with it. Several years later and I bought a new Bible, a Ryrie ESV Study Bible, only this one had the same problem. While the maps haven’t fallen out, they are literally hanging by threads.

So I contacted Moody Publishers, not really sure what to expect. I explained what happened, and that it happened with my previous Bible from them. They responded with this: they knew they had binding problems in the past and offered to send me a brand new Bible. I told them which kind I would like, and they responded that not only would they send me a new Ryrie ESV with a better cover than my current one, but would send me a replacement for my KJV Bible as well! Whaaaat??

Here’s what I took away from this experience.

Admit mistakes. They didn’t ask me questions about the binding, or how long I had it. They simply acknowledged a problem and offered to fix it.

Fast action. I wrote to them late at night, but they responded first thing in the morning. When I would respond back with information, they also responded right away. I think social media might play into how much faster companies respond to problems, but even so, they were prompt. Don’t put your customer’s problem on the back burner. Take care of it right away.

Exceeding expectations. While it can be hard to keep up with our increasingly spoiled mentality, it’s also important to treat your customers with great care. I was only asking for my ESV Bible, but they went out of their way to replace both Bibles. It not only made me satisfied with this purchase, but it built great trust in me with Moody Publishers.

“How you treat your customers is a reflection of your integrity.” 

I don’t believe that companies should give away free stuff just because they’re “Christian.” But I do believe that how you treat your customers is a reflection of your integrity, and Moody Publishers has plenty.

How to Start Spiritual Conversations With Complete Strangers

Picture this scenario: you’re in a doctor’s office, airport, bus stop, or some other place where you have to wait. You see the person sitting close to you and think, “I should share the gospel with this person.” You turn to them, open your mouth, and then you hear it….silence. You freeze and can’t think of what to say. We’ve all been there before, playing the star role with no lines to speak of (see what I did there?) We want to share the good news, but we also don’t want to send the running and screaming at the freak, right?

I have to confess that I have a very hard time with this. I’m an introvert by nature and I don’t really like speaking to complete strangers. It’s just plain uncomfortable. And you can try to psych yourself up and “just get over it” but there’s a better approach. Here’s what I’ve found has helped me in starting conversations.

1) Change your mindset to realize that it’s not about you.

It’s simply not. Sharing good news is all about their welfare, their eternal destination, their life. When we take the spotlight off of us and onto our conversation partner this gets us in the right line of thinking. Once you do this it will help you do the following step

2) Talk about them.

It’s a fact that people love to talk about themselves. So be curious. Find out who they are, where they come from, and why they are there. People like to talk about 3 main areas:

  • Job
  • Family
  • Themselves

3) Look for God in the conversation.

All things can lead to God. For example they may be a college student or taking extra classes. Odds are they’re probably taking a course that involves thinking of spiritual things. Then you can ask them “So what do you think about God?” This is going to take some practice, but don’t worry. It will get easier the more you do it. I would suggest practicing with a friend, or even with yourself. Think, “What would I say if someone asked me these questions?”

What have you found helps you in sharing the gospel? Share your ideas below.