About Impact

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Creating the right atmosphere

This has been a tough school year for me. I work in two very different schools. They are different from each other and different than any school I’ve worked at before. One of the biggest struggles I’ve had since I became a teacher is dealing with the atmosphere of the schools, private and public. So for the last few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what influences the mood and tone of a school.

Tuesday I was thinking about this as I was driving home from work. Then I started asking the same questions for ministries I’ve been a part of both paid and volunteer positions. I guess my passion for youth ministry was in high gear that day because some how I ended up on this question, “How do you a create a positive and effective environment for volunteers?” So I’ve been wrestling with this question and came up with a few thoughts. Take them for what they are worth I am far from an expert in this area. Feel free to share you thoughts.

1. Approachable leadership – If a volunteer has questions or needs something, they need to know that they can come to you AND feel comfortable doing it.
Encourage volunteers – I’m a huge feedback person. If I don’t get it, I assume I’m failing miserably. Volunteers need to know they are appreciated and doing well.
2. Redirect with love – Volunteers aren’t perfect just like paid staff members aren’t perfect. When you need to step in an redirect or correct something, do it in love and stay encouraging.
3. Allow volunteers to try new things – Obviously you want them to be trying ideas that are within that person’s SHAPE and are going the same direction as your ministry. Sometimes you just might discover something amazing! If they are successful, acknowledge it. If it doesn’t work out, help them learn from the process and keep encouraging them.
4. Equip your volunteers regularly – Give them a clear vision of the ministry and a clear understanding of how they fit into that vision. They need to share the same dream a vision to go the same direction as you. Give them the materials, resources and training that is needed to be effective.
5. Build a relationship – Serving in ministry is more than just the Sunday or Wednesday youth group time. You are working with human beings. Get to know the people you are walking the journey with.

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