CNLP 020: How to Get Volunteers to Own Your Mission Like Staff Do—An Interview With Elevation Church’s Frank Bealer

Feel like nobody owns the mission like you do?

What if you could change that?

Frank Bealer from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina shares how they have motivated thousands of volunteers to own the mission as much as staff do to help grow the church to over 18,000 people in 8 years.

Welcome to Episode 20 of the Podcast.


Guest Links

Lead e3

Frank Bealer on Facebook

Frank Bealer on Twitter

Elevation Church

Elevation Church on Facebook

Elevation Church on Twitter

Links Mentioned in this Episode

The Orange Conference 2015

Donald Miller

Jon Acuff

Reggie Joiner

Doug Fields

Jeff Henderson

Jud Wilhite

Perry Noble

Josh Gagnon

John Ortberg

Hillsong Conference

Brian Houston

Steven Furtick

Elevation GTA

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Andy Stanley’s Making Vision Stick

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

A volunteer’s role is essential to nurturing the mission of the church, and getting them to take ownership of that mission lies in the role of church leaders. Here are three things you can do now:

1. Give volunteers a great environment and real responsibility. Elevation Church makes it a point to invest in their volunteers and give them permission to lead. Frank began serving eight hours a day at Elevation on his only day off because of two key factors. First, they gave him real responsibility. He led at a very high level. Second, they made it easy for his family, feeding the family breakfast and lunch and keeping the kids engaged and growing spiritually.

2. Identify what ownership means. Communicate what you expect of volunteers and what they can expect from the church. When that initiative is taken, you paint a picture of what that ownership looks like. Elevation Church gives volunteers permission to lead in increments, based on whether or not a volunteer can handle their designated responsibilities.  This caters to the culture of volunteering and nurtures the responsibility of ownership. This leaves room for changes, corrections and improvements that can better serve the church.

3. Start by answering, “Why?” To give purpose to a mission, there must be a reason that resonates with the volunteer. Clearly communicate the connection between the need of the church and why their service has purpose – Allow them to see the bigger picture. If someone can’t see the church’s vision, don’t blame their lack of understanding, but take a look at how you’re presenting the message.

Quotes from Frank

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Next Episode: Brian Dodd

Momentum is such a difficult thing to gain and such an easy thing to lose. Brian Dodd explains the 10 steps he used to help a flatlined organization get back on track in 90 days and how those principles can help you.

Subscribe now, and you won’t miss Episode 21.

Got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Gary Davis on January 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    A little troubled with the ‘volunteer’ label. Sounds a little too much like the leaders are ‘called’ and the others, well, they do the bidding of the leader (paid pastor?). We need to go for a horizontal rather than a vertical leadership model. ‘Servant’ is a way better descriptor. The ‘lead servant ‘ always looks the most like Jesus. Carry on, fellow brothers and sisters in your service to the Lord. Stir clear of the temptation to lead from the top down. But if you go for that earthly model, don’t go misquoting Jesus.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 31, 2015 at 7:58 am

      Gary…thanks for this. I agree that there’s little distinction between staff and volunteer in God’s eyes…we’re all called. I think one of the tensions most churches face is that people think of themselves as ‘just volunteers’. Frank is just amazing at helping everyone see they are called and play a role.

  2. […] How to Get Volunteers to Own Your Mission Like Staff Do – An Inteview with Elevation Church&#8… by Carey Niewhof […]

  3. Maureen McClements Charron on January 28, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I am disappointed that without exception every single name of any significant size on the graphic you have chosen to keep on your desk is a male name. 🙁 Otherwise, good & helpful stuff….thank you.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks Maureen…Appreciate the comment. You’re referring to an email I sent out earlier with a Word Cloud graphic. To anyone else on my email list with the same question, the size of the names are automatically generated by the number of times the name appears among the 10K names. So, clearly, more men read my blog than women. That said, there are lot of female names. They’re all there. And they all matter.

  4. Chuck on January 27, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Wow. Just wow. That one was loaded. And timely. Actually got to apply some of Frank’s suggestions directly that very afternoon! Great job guys.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 28, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Thanks Chuck. Listening to Frank is like taking leadership steroids.

  5. Jeff on January 27, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Find people who know what it’s like to go without something to help other’s have it. It’s true in poverty and suffering ministries. People who have gone without help comfort others.

  6. Matt Kerr on January 27, 2015 at 10:02 am

    thanks Carey and Frank for taking the time to talk through this valuable content!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 27, 2015 at 10:52 am

      Thanks Matt. Hope things are well in Huntsville.

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