VolunteerCentered http://www.volunteercentered.com Volunteer leadership, management, and recruiting for church ministries and non-profits Mon, 16 Feb 2015 00:45:19 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 en hourly 1 AgileMinistryhttps://feedburner.google.com Taking a Sabbatical http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/PI17f6MpuAY/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/07/15/taking-a-sabbatical/#comments Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:38:29 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=845 After much prayer and consideration, I have decided that it is time to put Volunteer Centered on hold for a bit and take a break. I have been writing for 5 years and have said about all I have to say right now. Please feel free to use this site for research and learning by taking advantage of past articles, searching the archives, and reading the free ebooks that we have made available.

I want to thank each of you for your readership and for forwarding these articles to other leaders. I hope to be back soon with more articles, so feel free to stay subscribed.

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FREE Leadership eBook: Becoming Volunteer Centered http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/N_6Rf0n6Caw/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/07/15/free-leadership-ebook-becoming-volunteer-centered/#comments Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:34:35 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=840 Announcing the release of the latest FREE eBook from Volunteer Centered: Becoming Volunteer Centered. For those of you that have been a reader of this website for a while, this book was formally titled “Handle With Care”. Within this book you will find the way up to the next level of leadership, allowing you to better handle your role as a staff or ministry leader. It will also provide insights that will give you more time to be the leader that God is calling you to be.

Click here to download the FREE eBook on volunteer leadership and management!

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Leadership Essentials: Leading By Grace http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/vtV6kWXmoc0/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/30/leadership-essentials-leading-by-grace/#comments Wed, 30 Jun 2010 10:09:41 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=827 God’s Word teaches us that difficulties will arise in our leadership. Paul is the most memorable example, as he struggled with imprisonment, beatings, shipwrecks, and even near-death to take the gospel to other parts of the world.

Paul’s example teaches us that God’s grace exists at all times. Not just during the quiet times in the morning. Not just during our men’s or women’s Bible study time. God’s grace is always available.

Lead by grace. Lead by God’s grace. Seek and accept this grace often throughout the day, both in the up times and the down times.

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Leadership Essentials: Leading For Now http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/wqYY-zBDfQ8/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/29/leadership-essentials-leading-for-now/#comments Tue, 29 Jun 2010 10:07:40 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=825 Have you ever started a new team or a new project, only to have it fizzle out after a while? The excitement that was once there is no longer there for you or your team?

Leadership requires constant attention.

Leadership requires constant involvement.

Leadership requires constant problem solving.

Leadership is more than a vision. Leadership requires more than pointing in a direction, then sitting back and watching.

Leadership requires watching the big picture while watching for the stumbling blocks.

Leaders must lead for the now, not just for the future.

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Leadership Essentials: Giving Your All http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/8wgdUqkURQo/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/28/leadership-essentials-giving-your-all/#comments Mon, 28 Jun 2010 10:04:44 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=822 Leadership can be exilerating at times. Seeing a team come together, work hard, and make something come out of nothing. Those are the best of times. At other times, things can be difficult and never seem to go your way. How you handle these extremes will impact how well you lead.

We all love to plan new projects. They are exciting and often are the most creative times in our leadership role. During this time, nothing can go wrong as nothing has yet started. The future looks bright, nothing has been delivered late, and no one has let you down.

But what happens once the project starts? Things never go according to plan, though sometimes they can appear that way. It is at that time when leaders much give everything they have to pull it all together.

It is at this difficult time that leaders must push through the difficulties and continue to lead. It is at this time that those you lead are looking to you for direction, confidence, and wisdom. Are you ready to give your all, even in those difficult times?

Leaders are expected to give. They are expected to be available at all times and give everything.

Be ready to give.

Be willing to give.

Be willing to give everything.

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Leadership Essentials: The Unglamorous Leader http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/xCWHzC55tNQ/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/22/leadership-essentials-the-unglamorous-leader/#comments Tue, 22 Jun 2010 10:07:47 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=818 Some think being a leader is a glamorous thing. Lots of fame, fortune, and access to “hidden secrets”. The reality of leadership is much different and lacks the excitement that many seek. That doesn’t mean that leadership is not rewarding or lacks fulfillment – it just means that our expectations need to change.

Leadership is no different than any other role within a team. It requires executing on common, everyday tasks. The tasks may be different, but eventually it becomes a day-in, day-out routine. How we deal with this will reveal quite a bit about our leadership potential and how God will be able to use us (or not).

“We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.” – Oswald Chambers

We must dig deep to find the excitement in the simple. We must resolve to keep moving forward even when things look like that are stagnant. We must be prepared to deal with the simple as well as the amazing moments of life.

Are you ready to keep going, even if it requires living in common times? If so, then you are ready to lead.

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Leadership Essentials: Forward Progress http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/uqkcBW1V-vs/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/21/leadership-essentials-forward-progress/#comments Mon, 21 Jun 2010 10:52:34 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=816 I love starting new projects. I think part of it is my spirit of entrepreneurship that enables me to visualize a better future and a desire to put together the team to get there. The difficult part often isn’t getting started but continuing to make progress when things aren’t as exciting.

Excitement is usually found at the beginning of a new project, where obstacles haven’t had a chance to invade your vision. Everything is fresh and new, with unlimited possibilities.

Excitement also comes at the end of the project. As you know, finishing something can be amazing as it produces a finality and removes a load of stress and pain.

In between is where the struggle lies. A struggle to keep the vision in the midst of difficulties, lack of resources, or lack of motivation. In between the starting line and finish line is where our leadership is truly tested. People may never show up or perhaps leave your team for different reasons. Money isn’t in abundance or budgets are cut mid-project.

It is during this time when your leadership will make or break your project. It is during these times when you must find that inner drive to keep things moving even when you don’t want to get out of bed.

It is during this time when God asks each of us to “lay down our life”, not to death but to death of self. Rather, to the death of our emotions; to the death of our own interests; to the death of our own view of how things should turn out.

If you want to keep making forward progress on your project, it is time to let go of what you want and let God direct you daily on what to do and where to go. He may have alternate plans from the original vision you had. Or, perhaps He wants to teach you and grow your character during these times. I know He has done this to me many times. While the process is painful, over time it gets easier to make forward progress when I know that God is directing and I simply need to lay down my vision in place of His.

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Leadership Essentials: Increase Your Serve http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/CDJPAcS-sLI/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/16/leadership-essentials-increase-your-serve/#comments Wed, 16 Jun 2010 10:26:33 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=810 Want to find ways to better serve your church or community? Try some of these ideas:

Have a bookstore in your church? What would happen if you dropped the price of the books to cost?

Have a coffee bar in your church? What would happen if you retained quality beans and baristas but lowered costs at certain times to encourage your church to invite visitors? Or perhaps provide a special card that is given away for free to visitors to give them a free latte as a thank you for visiting?

Turn a youth fund raiser into a fund raiser for a local shelter or ministry. Give 100% of the funds raised to them, even if it costs your organization a little money to bootstrap the fundraiser.

Flip your outreach from bringing people into on-site church events to serving them where they work or play. Bring drinks to community basketball courts where pick-up games are often found. Moving your outreach from being internally focused to externally focused can show that you care about them, not about increasing your Sunday attendance.

Consider serving at a local non-profit or civic outreach with the goal of investing in your community rather than new church members.

What other ways has your team or church increased their serve? Share it with other readers by posting a comment.

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Leadership Essentials: So, Who Do You Serve? http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/fWR96Fl36yQ/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/15/leadership-essentials-so-who-do-you-serve/#comments Tue, 15 Jun 2010 10:22:45 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=808 Let’s look deeper at who we really serve through our leadership:

If we love our church, we shouldn’t invest our resources into things that can become a burden during the tough times. Buildings, technologies, and gadgets are tools – they don’t define your church. You define the church.

If we love people, we shouldn’t invest our resources in more staff that will have to be laid off during the tough times. Having a full-time staff is not a bad thing. However, if hiring staff is your first instinct then you serve the organization rather than letting the organization serve the church and community.

If we love our community, we shouldn’t add new programs that will restrict our core mission. Different seasons bring about different needs that sometimes require new programs and depending on new streams of revenue and new resources. If you become too dependent on the program and not serving the need, you may become a servant to the program and fail to keep sight of the true mission. This can happen with churches that are afraid to make changes or do the right thing as it may cause the few big donors to leave and cause revenue streams to dry up.

A word of caution: Don’t get caught up in the idea that if 5000 sq ft is enough, then 10,000 sq ft is better since it “provides room to grow”. This is a marketing trick that encourages you to spend more than you should. Buy what you need for the next 6-12 months, but nothing more. Otherwise, what seemed like a wise idea 2 years ago can create a stress on your staff and volunteers for years to come.

Please understand that I’m not suggesting that every building or program you have built was a wrong decision. What I am suggesting is that leaders have a responsiblity to fully understand their decisions to prevent becoming a servant to lenders or resources that may not be around in the coming years.

The next time you need to make a decision, consider who you are really serving. Check your motives and your assumptions. Perhaps the decision is still the right one to make, but by taking this step first you will ensure you are serving the right thing.

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Leadership Essentials: Who We Really Serve http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AgileMinistry/~3/5-VlvQBEx84/ http://www.volunteercentered.com/2010/06/14/leadership-essentials-who-we-really-serve/#comments Mon, 14 Jun 2010 10:21:01 +0000 James Higginbotham http://www.volunteercentered.com/?p=806 As leaders, we often think we know who we serve. If you lead volunteers at a church, you serve God, your local church, and your community. If you distribute food to the elderly, you serve the needs of the elderly in your community. However, that isn’t always the case. Over time, your decisions as a leader determine who you really serve – perhaps something or someone different than you thought.

With the recent downturn in the economy, many non-profits are finding it difficult to sustain their operations.
Churches are being forced to live week-to-week with the stress of paying the mortgage for their buildings that just a few years ago were new and exciting. Staff are being laid off that were only recently hired. Food stores that were previously full are now bare and not being replenished fast enough. While we can blame these problems on the economic downturn, we must look deeper at the reasons why many of us are in this situation and learn to lead our way out of it.

We need to evaluate our decisions truthfully and in light of the lean times. We must ensure that we fully understand the cost of our decisions today and the impact to those we serve should resource stream disappear tomorrow. Once we do that, we can be sure that we are serving the right thing and that things like buildings, new programs, and new technology become tools rather than burdens.

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