Your Volunteers: Training Your Greatest Ministry Asset

Once you have recruited a volunteer – moving them from a come-and-see to a come-and-serve mindset – you’ll need to train them.

In the follow-up to ‘Your Volunteers: Recruit,’ Chris Mavity’s ‘Your Volunteers: Train’ addresses three critical components to training: the differences between training and equipping, training for the long term, and the four characteristics of healthy training – but what, exactly, does each mean and entail?

Training v. Equipping: As Mavity puts it, “Training is providing input, in various forms, to influence a person’s future actions, attitudes, and behaviors. You’ll need to train your volunteers so that they achieve the specific ministry outcomes you desire. Equipping is about providing the resources a person needs to perform the duties associated with the roles and responsibilities for which they have been selected. For example, a custodian needs a vacuum cleaner, a data entry volunteer needs a computer, and a Sunday school teacher needs a classroom and supplies.”

Training for the Long Term: There are two types of training: orientation and ongoing training. Orientation training helps your volunteers understand the role, responsibilities,and expected outcomes of the assignment. It also gives your volunteers enough guidance, information and instruction necessary to complete the assignment while helping them gain confidence. Ongoing training is focused on life-skills development by helping your volunteers become a better version of themselves and communicating that you care about them as people – not just in a ministry capacity – and that you will pour into them to make them better in all aspects of their lives.

Four Characteristics of Healthy Training: As you develop your training, keep it …

… simple. Understand the purpose or scope of your meetings and tailor your information and activities to that single purpose.

… spreadable. Volunteer training that works in one department of your church will likely be useful – with a few modifications – in others.

… scalable. As you grow, your processes will need to be able to adjust to account for the number of volunteers you have.

… scrappable. If something isn’t working, scrap it. Keep the focus on outcomes, engagement, participation and productivity.

Training your volunteers takes commitment, time, effort and energy – but it’s so worth it. When you make a commitment to training your volunteers, you’ll find that your training will keep everyone focused on growth, your volunteers will become influential members of your congregation, and you’ll better be able to anticipate what’s next.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for this information. I'm going to use this article to improve my work with the Lord.
— Abel Singbeh
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu

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