Thursday, May 18, 2006

Structure for Success

Today's Topic: Team Building

I just got the scoop on Covenant Life's annual volunteer service weekend, called ServFest. It has me thinking again about recruiting people onto the production teams.

From a practical standpoint, the most important thing to have in place to prepare for recruitment is a team structure. Even if you are serving in a small church, and you only have two or three volunteers, a team structure is essential for including more people in your ministry, especially technical ministries.

Why? People want to sign up to play a part in an eternally important project. They will be less likely to sign up for something that doesn't seem important. Similarly, they will most likely not sign up to "volunteer for life doing something" in a particular ministry. Most people I know will be hindered from joining a volunteer team if they don't know what role they are going to play and how long they are expected to serve.

Here are some suggestions for creating team structure...

1. Break down all the things your team does into specific, manageable roles.

From my limited vantage point, most churches overwork their tech folks. And most tech folks overwork themselves. There are usually a couple "experts" hanlding everything. I think it is better to have more people involved, doing a very specific and simple set of tasks. Even though everyone has some down time, everyone knows peace. Imagine that!

Also, more on point with recruiting, having a team with specific roles allows the team leader to know how many open positions exist and how many new recruits to call on. Also, new volunteers can see clearly how their potential role is doable with a little training and will not be fearful to jump into turning the knobs and pressing the buttons.

2. Make sure to have a leadership structure.

This is especially important for larger teams. One of the most frequent and fearful questions I get from new volunteers is, "Soooo, am I going to be in charge?" Most often they don't want to have that much responsibility from the get-go. It's important to be able to say to them, "You are responsible for such and such, but you can always go to [enter leader's name here] with questions, and [enter leader's name here] will be giving you instructions while you're serving. They are in charge."

3. Make sure to have a beginning and an end date.

Not only do teams need a people structure, they need a time structure. I want my potential recruits to know for sure that they aren't being asked to sign up for life. I also want them to know that they can't walk out at any time. Whether it's six months, one year, or two years, make sure potential volunteers know how long they are committing to serve with you.

Just a little structure can go a long way in helping potential volunteers become confident that they can make a commitment to your team. Take the time to create that structure and see how many people are able to join in on your critical mission to present the gospel.
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