Recruit, Assess and Support Volunteer Team Members Who Thrive

Recruit, Assess and Support Volunteer Team Members Who Thrive

The greatest asset to ministry teams is volunteers – and the greatest weakness is a church that doesn’t have a pulse on their volunteer teams. Proactively assessing volunteer teams and individual volunteers can build and maintain healthy relationships, prevent burnout, and create synergy for the mission. 

Assess – 80% of the problem starts here:

When you take the time to determine what your real needs are in a ministry it will provide clarity and confidence when you begin the recruiting process. Assessment is an important exercise before your recruitment begins.  Assessment answers the question, “Why do I need this particular role filled?”

  • Clarify for yourself why it is important to fill the role before asking anyone to join.
  • If your “why” is unclear your “what” lacks sharpness
  • Identify the Key Result Areas you want this role to fulfill

Best Practice:

Consult with others who have already done what you aspire to do.

  1. Who do you know that has already filled a role like you are attempting to fill?
  2. What did they do?
  3. What else can you learn from their experience?

Recruit – personalize the invitation to serve:

A general announcement from the stage will generate a certain level of interest from the crowd. Contrast that with a conversation over a cup of coffee to learn the person’s vision for their life, goals, and passions.  In that context, share what you see in the person and what they would bring to the role. Explain the responsibilities, the support that you or someone else will provide, and then ask them what you want them to consider. Give them a week to pray about the opportunity and then follow up.

  • Know what you are looking for in the person you are engaging
  • Understand the type of person that will be a good fit
  • Personally invite people into the role

Best Practice:

Use assessments to assess various aspects of a person’s attributes, such as:

  • Spiritual Gift 
  • Behavioral Style
  • Strengths
  • Interests
  • Team Values

One of my go-to assessments for this information is the GripBirkman. You can assess the 5 areas above individually or combined (in one assessment).  

  • CLICK HERE for more information.  
  • CLICK HERE if you would like to take the assessment along with a 1-hour debrief.

Support – be intentional about providing support.

The challenge for recruiting and retaining volunteers is to find ways to support them so that they do not become weary. A regular rhythm of meeting as a team, individual check-ins, and fun team-building activities is so, so important to building a healthy team culture.   

  • Keep a pulse on the level of engagement and fulfillment they are experiencing in their role about every 6-12 months to avoid burn-out!
  • Informally ask team members how they are doing. Use these conversations to get a sense of how they are engaging in the role you’ve asked them to fill. If you are not their direct supervisor, ask their team lead to check-in periodically. This will help to avoid team members from stagnating in their role.
  • This is the biggest reason volunteers claim, “I am too busy.”

Best Practice:

Team Huddles are a great environment to reinforce team culture by reviewing your ministry values. For instance, Gina and I are part of a new church plant and every Sunday about 30 volunteers help make the experience warm, inviting and fun. After setup and before the first service preparation gets going, we meet together for about 15-20 minutes to gather all the volunteers together for Leadership Community to remind people of our “why”. The Huddle is sort of the head of the spear for all of our Sunday morning volunteers. We lead the Welcome Team and hold a more personal, scaled down version with our team to share the following:

  • What’s on your mind this morning?
  • How can we pray for you? 

Then we close our time in prayer for each other with full participation by each member. One-sentence prayers are an easy and comfortable onramp for our people to exercise that muscle. Then we go off to our various assignments!

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

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Three Principles to Ensure Church Staff Thrive – Principle #1: Clarity

Three Principles to Ensure Church Staff Thrive – Principle #1: Clarity

The #1 reason why staff suffer unnecessarily – lack clarity about their job.  

I learned this early in ministry. When I met with a prospective ministry team leader I needed to be clear on what I was asking them to do. The more clarity I had the easier the conversation. If what I was asking of them was not clear in my own head, then I had a difficult time communicating what I needed. 

For instance, in approaching a conversation to engage a prospective ministry team leader, I found that I needed to have the job written out so that I understood what I was asking the person to do and what I would be providing them. With this document in hand, I felt this both respected the person AND forced me to think this through carefully to the degree I felt confident. 

Clarify Expectations

  1. Clarify expectations in a job description.
  2. Include Key Result Areas (KRAs)
  3. Make the outcomes measurable
  4. Provide regular coaching
  5. Make course corrections

Most job descriptions read more like “suggestions for employee consideration”, lacking precision and “teeth”.  

I have reviewed close to 100 job descriptions over the last 5 years to conduct assessments on pastors and  para-church leaders. Out of that pool, I found very few had a job description with the precision necessary to have a productive conversation between employer and employee.

What to do when staff lose focus?

The primary thing lacking in job descriptions is clarity.  Enough clarity so that you could, if necessary, record the actual behaviors and outcomes you envision to successfully fulfill the role. Then, write that out. Once you have that out of your brain and in writing, meet with your staff member and unpack your expectations until they are crystal clear on what you want from them.

Principle #2 – SUITABILITY

The #2 reason why staff suffer unnecessarily – poor hiring practices.  

What do you think it costs you and your ministry for a bad hire?  

It is estimated that it could cost you up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary” (SHRM Study).

This is on you, the employer. There are best practices to vet prospective employees to determine suitability, and there is a difference between eligibility (what most interviewing processes vet) and suitability. If you want to read about the differences between those two – CLICK HERE.

What to do when you are getting mixed results from your hiring process?

There are numerous tools in the ministry marketplace to determine team fit, personality, temperament. spiritual gifting, and behavioral style. But one that assesses suitability, called the Harrison, includes a Reliability Score that determines if the person being assessed is being truthful, self-aware, and paying attention as they take the assessment. You can read more about the Harrison assessment – CLICK HERE.

Principle #3 – SUPPORT

The #3 reason why staff suffer unnecessarily – lack of support.  

At some point most staff will hit a wall in their work due to personal or professional reasons. They may be going through strife in their marriage or lack skills affecting their job performance. Realistically, most staff will benefit from a regular rhythm of 1-1 coaching. The rhythm will vary from staff member to staff member, but in my experience, 28 days should not pass before you have a 1-1 scheduled with your team member. Why 28 days?

I borrowed this from Rick Warren, who said that about every 28 days he needed to remind the church community gathered at Saddleback Community Church of the vision. I extracted from that a principle in coaching: about every 28 days, staff members need to be reminded of their vision and have a clarifying conversation about how they are progressing towards the ministry outcomes they were chasing. Your rhythm, given the needs of the staff member, will vary.

Chances are the busyness of ministry trumps team meetings and 1-1s.  “Meetings” get a bad reputation: “meeting for the sake of meeting”, “waste of time”, “lack focus and purpose” – are just some of the criticisms shared by many church staff members. Many are justified!  

What can you do to break the cycle of poorly executed team meetings and one-to-ones?

  • Commit
  • Communicate expectations including:
    • Purpose
    • Frequency
    • Agenda
  • Do it!

There are platforms that support effective team meetings and 1-1s. Some clients use the LEADR platform with impressive results. Whatever you choose, use it consistently and help your staff engage in the process. Persistence is the key.

Checkout these coaching resources to support your staff members:

Goals & Objectives Skill Builder

Goal Setting Storyboard

Goal Setting Effectiveness Profile

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

Click here to learn about joining the InFocus family to start your ripple effect!

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Unleash the Disciplemaker Within: 5 Habits to Spark a Movement

Unleash the Disciplemaker Within: 5 Habits to Spark a Movement

Have you ever felt the fire of faith ignite within you, but struggled to ignite it in others? You’re not alone. Many passionate believers yearn to create disciple-making movements, but lack the essential tools.

The truth is, disciples are made, not born. It’s a journey, and equipping yourself is crucial. But where do you even begin? How do you grow as a disciplemaker?

This is exactly what I wrestled with. The journey began a few years ago and continues. Currently, I am leading a group with my wife in a new church plant.  We discovered a powerful framework called 3-Thirds (Looking Back, Looking Up, Looking Forward) used worldwide to ignite disciple-making movements.  What makes the group powerful is that this approach is simple, coach-driven, and replicable, making it perfect for multiplying passionate disciplemakers like yourself. We did not create it. And, if you are interested in learning more about 3-Thirds Groups: CLICK HERE.  

But what about the disciplemaker themselves? What support do they need to thrive?

Here’s the exciting part: I identified 5 key habits that form the foundation of a sustainable disciple-making movement:

  1. Missional Values: Live a life that reflects your purpose as a Jesus follower.
  2. Active Prayer: Fuel your journey with constant communication with God.
  3. Relational Connections: Build deep, meaningful relationships with people far from God.
  4. Disciple-making Cycle: Master the process of equipping others to follow Christ.
  5. Strategic Partnership: Find allies who share your vision and multiply your impact.

Ready to take action?

  • Find your starting point: Take the FREE Discipleship Quiz and discover your strengths and weaknesses as a disciplemaker.
  • Fuel your growth: Join the Discipleship Collective and receive ongoing support while mastering the 5 habits.

Bonus Revelation: Our 3-Thirds Group experience highlighted a crucial element – listening to the Holy Spirit. New believers crave this guidance, and incorporating it accelerates the newest disciple’s growth.

Want to learn more?

  • Get details on the 5 habits and the Discipleship Quiz (it’s FREE!)
  • Explore the 3-Thirds framework
  • Reach out and share your own experiences (

Don’t wait any longer. Unleash the disciplemaker within and start your journey today!

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

Click here to learn about joining the InFocus family to start your ripple effect!

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Unleash Your Coaching Potential: The Abiding in Christ Advantage

Unleash Your Coaching Potential: The Abiding in Christ Advantage

The Challenge: A Coach’s Awakening

For over a decade, I excelled as a Christian coach, consistently receiving high marks in all areas except one: Abiding in Christ. This low score wasn’t just disappointing; it haunted me.  As someone passionate about empowering others and leaving a lasting legacy of faith, I craved to understand why this core competency felt out of reach.

The Spark: Igniting a Deeper Connection

Driven by my desire to be the best coach possible, I embarked on a three-year journey of personal growth. This wasn’t about chasing perfection, but about deepening my connection with Christ, the very foundation upon which I coach. This pursuit ignited a passion within me, not just for my own growth, but to help others cultivate a thriving relationship with God.

The Gift: Empowering Others on Their Journey

The result? A transformative quiz designed specifically for Christian coaches to assess and strengthen their “Abiding in Christ” competency. This quiz equips coaches with five key areas for self-reflection: Discernment, Questions, Clarification, Action, and Listening. These elements are the building blocks for fostering a deeper connection with the Holy Spirit, both in themselves and in those they coach.

The Call to Action: Your Journey Begins Now!

This quiz isn’t just about identifying weaknesses, it’s about taking practical steps towards growth.  It’s about igniting a fire within yourself and those you coach. Click Here to take the FREE Coach Quiz and embark on your own transformative journey of Abiding in Christ!

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

Click here to learn about joining the InFocus family to start your ripple effect!

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