volunteer

Your Team Wants You to Ask Yourself These 10 Questions about Trust

The more conversations I have with clients, family and friends, the more I’m thinking about trust these days. Seems there’s precious little trust actually being experienced in work places and homes. Let’s start by defining trust.

My online dictionary states that trust as a verb means: to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of something or someone.

Conversely, the same dictionary defines distrust this way: to doubt the honesty or reliability of; regard with suspicion.

My experience confirms that people know quickly whether they are trusted or distrusted; whether their supervisor believes in their strengths or regards them with suspicion. People know when their leader hovers, limits, takes back a responsibility or removes authority.

I Don't Want to Press 3 for Service

It seems that when an organization is faced with staffing challenges, the need to operate more efficiently, or simply to address a potential problem, the tendency is to create as little change or hassle as possible for the organization. So, the change, and often the hassle, is passed on to the end user: the customer, the guest, the human on the other end of this would-be relationship.

What is the current challenge for your church or organization? 

    You could miss this Easter opportunity, but you don't have to...

    A few days ago, a pastor asked me if I had any “Easter tips” to share. My pastor friend, like most churches, has begun or already planned their Easter weekend services. Having a few tips isn’t a bad idea. 

    This Easter we will all expect new guests, many of them returning to church - any church - for the first time in years. There will be people who appear “new,” but who gather with our faith communities twice a year: Easter and Christmas. Most of us will see more people attend our Easter services than on a “normal” weekend. Because of this, it’s not unusual

    10 Reasons You're Not Ready to Welcome New Guests

    You don’t intend to not be ready. You really want everyone to feel welcome. You even have some greeters at the front door. People are shaking hands, and they appear to be friendly. 

    However, every weekend people walk into churches across America and feel less than welcome. They don't know what to do or where to go. They feel like strangers.

    Here are 10 reasons you and your church may not be ready to welcome new guests to your weekend service: 

    1. Your culture is developed for “family” and every weekend is a reunion. Unfortunately, guests can sense when they aren’t treated as family.
    2. You have a “friendly” church. Unfortunately,...

    Care is Intentional

    What if you could learn...

    • how to listen - not only to words, but to someone's heart?
    • how to leverage your own brokenness in order to step with love into the brokenness of someone else?
    • to journey with someone whose shame is binding, confusing and masking their true identity?
    • to avoid some of the ridiculous...

    Volunteer Owned Best Practices...by Email

    Excellent guest service - whether in a local church, community non-profit, retail business or service industry - is really the compilation of lived-out best practices. Those benchmark behaviors that may be simple and common sense, but they are set as standards of practice by everyone in the organization.

    Best practices can be produced in a board room. 

    • Respond to questions within 48 hours. 
    • Answer the phone before the fourth ring. 
    • Do what you do with excellence. 

    It can happen: best practices can come from the board room. But not most of them.

    Most best practices come about in the moment. A one-time occurrence implemented by one team member that gets discovered and, because of its impact on communicating value, is repeated as a norm throughout the entire team. That’s what happened with

    Team: More than Task

    This past weekend my friend, Kim Volheim and his wife, Claudia hosted a gathering for our guest services leaders and coaches. Fifty plus men and women filled their home with no agenda. There was no meeting, no objectives to review or sharpen. 

    Kim created space. Just space. 

    Space to eat lots of sugary sweets and salty snacks. Space to talk. Space to be. 

    Most teams get launched and organized around task. There is a vision; there are clear objectives; there is a reason for the team's existence. They are built to get things done. it's how any vision or mission worth pursuing gets accomplished: team.

    However, although task brings people to a team, tasks aren't the only glue

    Why Show Up for "Church" at the Box

    There's a trend across the country among good, church-going people: Attending a weekend service at their local home church just once every two or three weeks. Seems like the new norm for many. As other church leaders across the country have observed, it's particularly noticeable when those volunteering seem to attend only when they're "scheduled" to serve. 

    I have thoughts on this behavior.  

    Customer Service Training Starts at Home

    Don't you sometimes wish you had the silver bullet for finding great volunteers or staff for your team? Whether it's guest service peeps on your volunteer church team or your sales staff at your retail store, a silver bullet for finding "stars" would be awesome.  

    In his book, A Week at the Airport, Alain de Botton notes the following about British Airways:

    Dying on the Battlefield of Well-Roundedness

    Yesterday I grabbed the Xbox controller again, as I have the past several weeks since my daughter, Liv, and her boyfriend, Jacob, have been back home for the summer. Every time I play Call of Duty, I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten worse – not better – than the last time I played.

    Yesterday I finished third place (Yes, that’s the same as last place when three people play, but third still gets a ribbon in most contests. It just sounds better to me.) every game we played. Finally, in utter disgust of my inability to coordinate my hands and eyes quickly enough to avoid being killed before taking out my two “enemies,” I declared, “This is my last game.” Death is death. I was dead. And I was done.

    I don’t have the natural talent to kill imaginary enemies on my TV screen. I can do it. But, I’m not good at it.

    Gaming isn’t my sweet spot.

    I watch people, particularly leaders, painfully strive to be good at everything.

    Your Teams Are People, Too

    We know it, no one needs to remind us. Or do we need to be reminded? The volunteers and staff who make up our ministry teams matter as much as the people we're serving. Our teams are people, too.

    As I've had conversations with volunteers and staff on my various teams over the past couple weeks, I've been reminded. People matter. People need value. These people are my first "customers" or "guests".

    Just this past week or so, I've been reminded - they will experience value when:


      Life-Sucking Silos, Part 2

      In Part 1 of "Life Sucking Silos" I outlined a few primary ways we focus our staff and volunteer leaders on the main thing, preventing silo ministries or teams who operate as stand-alone entities within the local church (read it here).

       

      Don't worry about relationships; focus on ministry. Don't take the time to get to know people. There are goals to accomplish, souls to serve. Who has time for relationships?

      • Fail to build relationship with your leaders and you'll have a

      Breakfast Barricades

      I live in northern Indiana in the path of the snow belt from Lake Michigan. We call it Lake Effect. I think that's intended to remind us that we get to enjoy the water and beaches of the great lake... when it's warm. I bring all that up to say that when it finally starts getting warmer, we Hoosiers find ourselves in the path of the department of transportation - fixing pot holes. Some days I prefer the snow.

      Today was one such day. This morning on my way to a breakfast meeting I approached the main thoroughfare out of my neighborhood and discovered

      Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 5

      In the last several posts about creating and cultivating a volunteer culture, I’ve pulled from my second book, Lasting Impressions: From Visiting to Belonging, to review some common myths that prevent people from stepping up to serve in the local church (or any organization).

      Myth #2: “Volunteering Requires Too Much Time.”

      • This myth may or may not be true in your church. If the only way to volunteer at your church is by serving every week for hours at a time

      Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 4

       MYTH #1: “There’s no room for me; it’s all being done already.”

      • You and I know nothing could be further from the truth. Unless it's really true, of course. Maybe your staff is doing it all. Maybe you've structured things in such a way that there really are not new opportunities for new peeps.

      Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 3

      When your church decides to intentionally develop a culture where it's normal to volunteer, where it's natural to serve, it's easy to make it all about the task. And when it's all about the task, we can make it all about our church. It's all too easy to forget that it's first about Jesus and people. I know - shocking. Earth-breaking. But true. Here are a couple examples.

      • The objective, the task alone drives the recruitment of volunteers. 
        • Often churches look at the ministry goals in front of them and go into recruitment mode to get the task of ministry done. And why not?

      Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 2

      In our local churches we sometimes operate in a fantasy land, ignoring the reality that our people are living outside the four walls of the church. We create programs, activities, and opportunities for people to volunteer their time and talent as though our people are sitting around with nothing to do.

      When we do ask them to step up and participate, we're often vague, and sometimes shaming.

      It's as though we think people walk through the front door of our church saying,

      Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 1

      I’m often asked what it takes to move a local church from staff-led ministry to ministry led and carried out by teams of volunteers. It's certainly not an overnight process to make such an intentional change. 

      Here’s part one of several responses to the question: how do create a culture of volunteering where people choose to step up and serve?

      It starts with vision