The Key Component in Caring for Volunteers

How you care for your volunteers may be one the single greatest factors in your success or failure as a leader in a church or non-profit organization.

This past Monday I hosted the second #worshipchat Tweetchat and I asked the question, “How has a leader appreciated you, and how has that impacted how you care for volunteers?”

By the end of the evening a root issue had come to the surface.

@joegallo82 and @johnnybeck almost simultaneously said,

I feel most appreciated when a leader shows interest in my personal life.  Not just what I can offer musically

Honestly I wish I could tell you about a time when I was in a rehearsal and I felt like the leader had no interest in my personal life, but I can’t.  Maybe it happened sometime, but I don’t remember it.

What I DO remember is treating my own worship team members that way at one point in time, and I am not proud to say that.

Early in my career as a worship leader I was focused primarily on excellence.  Even though I asked people how they were doing and I cared on a certain level, deep down I was there to deliver a product and not to build them up as people.

The results were challenging.  While I drove the quality up, I was intensifying a culture of perfectionism in a church already tending towards the critical.

The kicker is that I had no idea I was doing this.  I really cared, I thought.

Until a number of years ago when God changed my heart.  Seemingly overnight I felt a change in my focus.  From then on I felt as if my focus was caring for people rather than about the music.  Music became secondary.

I wish I could say it all got very easy.  Not really.

Read my post from last week on personality types and you will see that I am someone who loves detail and excellence.

I still want to do a good job.  I still want to end rehearsal in the middle of the week with something I am not afraid to offer on Sunday.  I will still push my musicians to their best because God deserves our best.

But that is no longer my primary concern. 

People are my primary concern.

We live with people.  We make music with people.  We talk with people.  The only thing we can take with us into the afterlife is . . . people.

So when it comes down to appreciating volunteers, they want to know that they are more important than the eighth note push is the 5th measure of that new song you’re teaching them.

They want to know that when Sunday is done and over you will love them and the service simply because you led worship with them.  They don’t want to be conditionally accepted based on the level of perfection they offered.

@joegallo82 offered the crux of the issue:

you have to realize that they’re not volunteering for you but for the lord.

We are all volunteering for God.  As worship leaders we need to be humble enough to realize that “it’s not all about us.”

So what is the key to appreciating your volunteers?

  • Get your heart right.
  • Put people first.
  • Love God (not music, or whatever you are the leader of) most.

Then you will be on the right track.  In the next post we will talk about some practical steps in appreciating volunteers.

How do you keep your heart right and people first in your ministry?

A New Opportunity to Connect with Other Worship Leaders – an Update

We are all looking for ways to connect with other worship leaders, and last week I introduced a new opportunity to you, a Tweetchat centered on worship.

I have never done anything like this, but it is very simple and super fun.

Yesterday evening I hosted the second #worshipchat Tweetchat, and I had a blast interacting with friends across the continent.  I also made a new contact in the process.

If you are unfamiliar with Tweetchats, just think of an open air chatroom utilizing Twitter, led by a moderator, and organized using a unique hashtag.  For Twitter newbies a “hashtag” is a keyword preceded by the “#” symbol.  In this case we are using the unique hashtag #worshipchat.

Last night we talked about appreciating volunteers, and soon I plan to write a blog post digging into the comments.  After sharing ways we had felt appreciated in the past, we all agreed that the attitude and heart of a leader is the key component to making a volunteer feel valued.

So stay tuned for the blog post coming up shortly.

Our next #worshipchat Tweetchat is this coming Monday, August 13, at 8 pm EST.  Simply go to this Tweetchat room and you will see all of the comments organized.  Or you can simply send Tweets from your account, making certain to include “#worshipchat” in all of your tweets.  You can actually type “#worshipchat” into the Discover search field within Twitter and follow that way, but the nice thing about the Tweetchat room is that #worshipchat is automatically added to every tweet without you having to maunually enter it in.

In the meantime, share a brief story with us here in the comments below.

What have leaders done in the past to make you feel appreciated and valued?

Networking 101 for Worship and Music Leaders, and a New Opportunity

One thing they didn’t teach me in college is how to network with other leaders.  If they offered the class, no one told me about it.

In fact, at my first church job I was a little afraid to meet other leaders because I felt like such a newbie, an outsider.

Yes, I had a Master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and my father was a pastor, but I still felt like I didn’t have the level of skills of my colleagues around town.

Slowly, though, I realized that I needed to reach out and seek encouragement as well friendship from like-minded leaders.

In fact, I have a new opportunity for you to connect with other worship and music leaders, but more on that later.

The key here is “like-minded.”  I don’t have any time for arrogant self-promoters, and there are plenty of them in the church world.  I don’t operate that way, and I can’t stand those that do.

Here are a few of the ways I search for potential leaders to befriend.

  1. I research the other churches in town.  What churches are like-minded?  Which ones are pushing the edge of creativity?  Which churches have a reputation for excellent music?  Once I find the churches I research their worship and music departments and reach out to the worship and music leaders.
  2. I ask my friends.  I just moved to Sarasota, FL, last fall and my friend and boss is very connected here.  Hanging out and talking with him naturally puts me in contact with other leaders.
  3. I attend conferences.  Several of my favorites in the past have been the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit and the Willow Creek Arts Conference.

Here are some of my favorite ways to get to know other leaders. 

  1. I Google them.  In fact, I Google everybody.  If I am going to meet someone completely new, I will plug their name into Google and see what comes up.  Sometimes I find the most interesting things that can lead to great conversations.
  2. I treat them to coffee or lunch.  I enjoy sitting down one-on-one with another leader and asking them about their ministry and work.
  3. I friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to see what they’re talking about.
  4. I arrange a lunch for several leaders.  Getting a few other leaders together for lunch can invite some great conversation.
  5. I attend their events or churches when I get the chance to check out what they’re doing in person.
  6. I listen to any recordings they have made.

A New Opportunity

Recently I was talking to a professional social media friend about networking and she mentioned Tweetchats.  I had never heard of them.

A Tweetchat is where a group of people converse about a topic using Twitter.  They mark every post with a particular hashtag (a hashtag is a word preceded with the “#” symbol) so that others can follow the conversation.  By logging into Tweetchat each person can enter the hashtag into the field at the top and see just those comments, or you can use a tool like Hootsuite to sort the comments.  Both are free.

My friend encouraged me to do one on worship, and so I am.

I am really excited about doing this, although I have just the slightest bit of apprehension since I have never led one before.

Join me this coming Monday, July 30, at 8 pm EST for a Tweetchat.  Just include the hashtag #worshipchat in your comments.

I will have some questions to guide our conversation, but the main goal is simply to provide a place for like-minded people to meet while discussing worship and worship music.

I hope to see you there.

Again, join us Monday, July 30, at 8 pm EST for a #worshipchat Tweetchat.  I can’t wait to meet you!

How do you find and network with other leaders?