Then—usually within minutes—they tell me an even bigger challenge is to find the right people—people who can lead, inspire, mobilize and accomplish things, and that they don’t have nearly enough young leaders ready to move the mission forward and reach the next generation. (If it’s helpful to you, here are some keys to working with and leading Millennials.)
Regardless of age, though, this is a challenge in staffing that cuts across every demographic, and it’s an even bigger challenge for churches and organizations that use volunteers.
Churches will almost always have 50-100 times as many volunteers as you do staff. And, by definition, you can’t incentivize volunteers with attractive salaries and benefits.
For all those reasons and more, most churches struggle to get enough volunteers, and almost all churches struggle to find the right volunteers. And everyone leading teams struggles to get great people.
And here’s what’s at stake. Your church or organization will never grow unless you master the art of leadership development.
Why? Because your church will only grow as large as your team enables it. Perpetually small teams create perpetually small churches. But grow your team, and you open the path to growing your church.
The question is, how do you do that?
Despite all the talk over the last few years about developing a leadership pipeline, most leaders are struggling to figure out how to do it.
So today, let me show you a simple short cut I’ve found to stacking your pipeline with the best new volunteers and team members.
Here we go.
There Are Two Kinds of Team Members
So let’s start with a simple reality. There are essentially two kinds of people: leaders and doers.
Leaders gladly rise to a challenge and can take others with them.
Doers, on the other hand, prefer to do what you tell them and little more.
Effective organizations build teams of leaders, not just teams of doers.Effective churches build teams of leaders, not just teams of doers. Click To Tweet
So many leaders told me they felt like they have a volunteer core of doers and hardly any leaders. Or at least if there are leaders present, they can’t seem to find them.
Why is it so important to make this shift from doers to leaders?
Because doing doesn’t scale. Leadership does.
If you really want to reach the full potential of your mission, developing a culture of leadership will take you there in a sustainable way.
You will always need doers, but you’ll also need a solid group of leaders in place to lead and manage the doers.
Which raises a big question: How can you tell if a potential team member is a leader or a doer?
Here are 5 ways to tell whether the volunteer you’re looking at is truly a leader, not just a doer.Doing doesn’t scale. Leading does. Click To Tweet
1. Check To See If They Have Followers
Simply put, leaders have followers. Doers, not so much.
Look beyond your church or organization to see whether a new volunteer functions like a leader in the community or more like a doer.
Sure, they’re not leading at your church, but if they’re really a leader I promise you they’re leading somewhere. A leader might be running a shift at the local coffee shop and doing it well.
Or your new volunteer may be a mom who is pretty much running her neighborhood—the playgroups, the book clubs. She’s a leader.
Maybe your new volunteer is a young adult running a small business or a music studio.
Or, let’s say they’re still in school, true leaders will already be volunteering as president of a club or leading trips or teams or doing something meaningful that they don’t have to do.
Bottom line: look for people who are already leading something somewhere. You can spot a leader because they’re already leading and they already have people following them.
If they’re leading well in their life and they believe in your mission, there’s a good chance that they are going to lead well on your team.Leaders have followers. Doers don't. Click To Tweet
2. Study Their Influence
The simplest definition of leadership I know is from John Maxwell: leadership is influence.
Influence doesn’t depend on position. You don’t have to be at the top of an org chart to have influence. In fact, if the only influence you have comes from your title, you’re not a leader.If the only influence you have comes from your title, you're not a leader. Click To Tweet
Conversely, there are interns who cultivate tremendous influence in organizations because they’re so great at what they do and have figured out how to lead others.
Watch for the influence people have both in your church (everyone listens when she talks) and in the community.
It’s a sign they may be a leader, not a doer.
Conversely, people who don’t naturally cultivate influence won’t necessarily gain any influence just because you put them in charge.People who don't naturally cultivate influence won't gain any just because you put them in charge. Click To Tweet
3. See If They Make Things Happen
Doers respond to what’s happening. Leaders make things happen.
Doers can take direction and execute someone else’s vision, but they will require energy and follow-up that a leader doesn’t require.
A leader is a catalyst— creating change, momentum, and progress. You want to build your teams around people who make things happen.Doers respond to what’s happening. Leaders make things happen. Click To Tweet
4. Watch How They Respond to Responsibility
Leaders love responsibility. Doers get overwhelmed by it.
Often church leaders are hesitant to give volunteers real responsibility and authority. We’re worried they’ll think it’s too much, because, after all, we tell ourselves, ‘they’re just a volunteer.’
But paradoxically, true leaders are energized by responsibility. They love a challenge.
You’ll find a leader constantly asking, “What else can I do?” Even better, a leader will proactively pursue more responsibility.
To be fair, jumping into responsibility and challenge can be a sign of dysfunctional behavior. Usually, it’s not. But occasionally, it is. Here are 6 signs that will tell you whether the eager volunteer you’re talking to is toxic.
Still, healthy leaders rise to the occasion. It’s the way God made them.Leaders love responsibility. Doers get overwhelmed by it. Click To Tweet
5. Give Them a Challenge
Finally, leaders love a challenge. Doers don’t.
In the same way, doers get overwhelmed by responsibility, they find a challenge to be too much.
When you have a big vision for something new and you cast that vision to a leader, true leaders will be energized and excited.
They’ll even add their own ideas and begin envisioning whom they’ll invite along with them.
Leaders with big gifting love big challenges. So give people a significant challenge and see who steps up (and who doesn’t). That will show you where the leaders are.Leaders with big gifting love big challenges. Click To Tweet
By the way, even though this post is primarily about finding volunteers, these 5 criteria also work beautifully for staff hires.
More On Finding and Deploying the Best Leaders to Help Your Church Grow
What most leaders don’t realize is that the barrier to growth in churches isn’t always spiritual. I mean some times, for sure it is.
But I see so many leaders who love God, love people, are faithful, attract some new worshippers, but never seem to grow. What’s up with that?
Well, pop open the hood and you soon realize their problem isn’t spiritual, it’s structural.
The bottom line is you need to structure bigger to grow bigger.
I devote two sessions of my Breaking 200 Without Breaking You Course to the issue of identifying and developing volunteer leaders in your church, an essential step in moving past the 200 attendance barrier.
This course has now helped over 1000 churches tackle their growth barriers, helping them break the 100, 200, 300 and even in some cases, 500 or 1000 attendance barrier by helping them clear the structural barriers that stood in the way of their growth.
You can see a list of all the subjects I cover in the eight-session course here. You can take the course personally as a senior leader, but each course comes with 12 licenses so you can actually go through it with your team and board, which is the best way to make progress.
My heart behind the course is to help every church work through the changes you need to make to experience sustained growth well beyond the 200 attendance mark.
So – whether your church has an attendance of 50, 150, 250 (or any size up to 1000), the principles will help you gain the insight you need to break the barrier more than 85% of churches can’t break.
Plus, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by tackling the barriers you’re facing.
What Helps You?
What helps you tell whether a volunteer is a leader or a doer?
Scroll down and leave a comment!