When something matters, it can never be said enough.
4. Be Patient
Volunteer church leaders are working for the church and its ministries during whatever small openings they can find in their schedule. A schedule that includes work, school, child-rearing, family crises, financial stress and more.
They’re studying, praying and preparing after the kids are finally fed and asleep, the house is semi-clean and the dishes are still piled up in the sink. Instead of relaxing in front of the TV, they’re opening up Sunday School curriculum (or something else they have to prepare for) and getting ready to give the church several hours that, quite frankly, they really don’t have time for.
If they don’t get everything right the first time they do something (or the fifth), don’t jump down their throat or threaten to take them out of leadership, help them do it better next time.
Many volunteer leaders quit, not because they don’t care, but because they get less hassle from the pastor when they “show up and shut up” than when they step up and try to help.
Recognize their sacrifice and be patient if the way they do it isn’t perfect. After all, you’ve never done it perfectly yet, either.
Yes, I know the above description of a church leader’s day sounds like the life of a lot of small church pastors, too. Especially if you’re bivocational. Give yourself a break from perfection, too.
5. Be Forgiving
People make mistakes. I do. You do. Your volunteer leaders do.
The only way to not make mistakes is not to do anything – which is a big mistake.
Be grateful for people’s efforts and forgiving of their failures. Then work with them to give them the tools to do it better the next time.
In our church, we tell people that if they work in an area of ministry, only to discover it’s not the right fit for them, they can quit at any time, guilt-free. When people know their mistakes aren’t fatal, they’ll step up more often.
6. Be Prepared and Be Consistent
No volunteer leader should ever show up to a church function, ministry or meeting more prepared than the pastor. If you are the pastor, be ready. Have an agenda and stick to it. Have all the necessary materials printed and organized. Be on time. Stay for questions and/or fellowship afterwards.