Can I tell you a secret?
I used to dread Sundays. Like, I really hated Sundays.
It’s an odd place to be for a leader in children’s ministry. It’s like playing on the basketball team and loving the practice yet dreading game day. I loved what I did. The vision and impact of my work always fueled me.
But Sundays felt more like Report Card Day. The day I found out just how well I did the previous six days. The day I received a grade on all my planning, communicating, and organizing for the week.
Remember report card days as a kid? I’ll never forget them. Some report cards were easy to deliver to my parents. The A’s and B’s felt light in my backpack as I floated on air all the way home. Then there were the report cards weighted down with C’s and D’s (maybe even an F!). My bag felt like a ton of bricks. I’d hand over the report card with my stomach in knots knowing the punishment in my future.
SUNDAY’S RESULTS CAN FUEL MONDAY’S EMOTIONS
For years, my Sundays felt like those report card days. The ones filled with C’s and D’s. I’d walk through the doors in the morning hoping for a good day but not really knowing what grade I would get at the end of the day: A or F.
The funny thing about it was I got multiple grades for the same action step. The same elementary experience would be outstanding for one volunteer and a complete dumpster fire for another. The same check-out process would be a breeze for one parent and a hindrance for another. I’d go from A to F in a matter of two hallway conversations.
It was like Report Card Sunday Roulette. And it was exhausting. The overall grade I got on Sunday determined how I felt on Monday. As you can imagine, there were a lot of Mondays I just wanted to quit. But I didn’t. (Well, maybe just in the mirror!)
Today I really love Sundays. But things didn’t change for me until I learned how to build the right team of leaders around me. A team to help me plan, communicate, organize, and generally move the ministry forward. A team with whom I could share the celebration of A’s and B’s and the burden of C’s and D’s.
BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM
Building a volunteer leadership team is not an original concept. It’s probably the most common idea a ministry leader will share. But you don’t just need to build a leadership team. You need to build the right leadership team.
How do you know you have the right team? Great question. The right team is going to have the capacity to grow in the following areas:
Relational vs. Positional Authority
Any volunteer you elevate to lead other volunteers must know the difference between relational and positional authority. If these terms are new to you, I recommend reading John Maxwell’s book, The 5 Levels of Leadership. Leaders will not win if they can only use their position (i.e., title) to move people to action. They must possess the ability to develop relational authority and tap into the underlying motivations that compel people to action.
Great leaders don’t fail alone. They communicate proactively and “gripe up,” not down. They are willing to be open with their decisions and invite feedback from their leadership to grow and sharpen.
I’m stuck on this attribute. It’s simply the game-changing factor among great people-developers. Attitudes are contagious. And a can-do attitude is the one I want to infect the whole of my volunteer team.
A great volunteer leader isn’t the one with all the “doing” skills. He or she is actually the one with all the empowering skills. My volunteer team is filled with people willing to DO whatever is necessary. I don’t need a DO-er on my leadership team. I need someone willing to find others who can DO 80 percent as well, then equip, cheer, and celebrate those volunteers to the finish line.
When I established the right team with the ability to grow and hone these skills, my Sunday game changed. Today I walk into church on Sunday mornings like I’m carrying my A report card. Not that everything is perfect. In fact, it’s far from perfect. But I’m surrounded by stellar volunteer leaders who are just as committed to developing a great volunteer team as I am. It’s the difference between dreading Sundays and loving them.
To learn more about how to build the right team, check out Don’t Quit, the new book by Gina McClain and Jessica Bealer, available now at DontQuitBook.com.