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Home » Headline, Staff/Volunteer Leadership

Volunteer Training Is More Than a Classroom

Submitted by James Higginbotham on March 1, 2010 – 4:22 amNo Comment

Volunteer training has been a hot topic recently. Many churches and non-profits are focused on how they can get their volunteers trained to do the same exact thing every time. While many leaders think this is the key to leading, they are missing the point of what they are called to do.

Jesus demonstrates in Luke 10 how we are to train: by teaching them the core principles, allowing them to team up in groups of two or three, and letting them succeed or fail on their own. This is much different than what many of us consider training. Instead, many leaders train our volunteers as if they were 3rd grade students.

As an example, let’s consider a greeting ministry’s training procedures:

Classroom model: “Stand here. Smile. Hand them this flyer. Point them to the auditorium.”

Jesus’s model: “You are a reflection of light and hope. You are every visitor’s personal concierge. Assume everyone is a new member, even if they aren’t. Make them feel at home. Help them in any way they need it. It is OK if you make a mistake – just correct it as best you can. If they ignore you, smile and move to the next person you see.”

Which one of these people will most likely be able to use their gifts and skills to make your visitors feel welcome?

We need to allow our volunteers to have an opportunity to exercise their God-given skills and gifts to benefit the church. Creating drones that all do and say the same thing doesn’t make things special - they make them plain. They make church a commodity rather than a series of personal relationships and environment for growth.

It’s time to start training our volunteers like Jesus showed us to, not the way we’ve been been taught in our classrooms.

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