17 Things Pastors Can Do To Honor Their Volunteer Leaders
Earlier this evening I had the privilege of attending a leadership dinner put on by Senior Pastor Mike Linch and NorthStar Church. The purpose of this invitation-only event was to introduce the church’s upcoming capital campaign to about three-dozen of the ministry’s key stakeholders. This was the 5th such meeting the church leadership had put on in less than a week.
I sat mesmerized in the back of the room listening to Mike tell those in attendance about the church’s future and their role in making that vision become reality. I kept thinking how honored they must feel because of the value being placed on them.
I wished every pastoral leader could have been there tonight learning from Mike and his team. As a result, I identified 17 things pastors and church staffs can do to honor volunteer leaders based upon what I experienced.
- Make Leaders Insiders – You can’t leapfrog leaders. They must be brought in early in the process. Leaders are always out front, even with upcoming ministry initiatives. This allows leaders to multiply your mission and vision. Leaders should be answering questions, not asking them.
- Proactively Show Kindness – About a dozen of the church’s staff were in the lobby to greet everyone upon their arrival. This tells leaders, “We’ve been waiting on you and are glad you’re here. Thanks for coming.”
- Deliver Excellence - The leaders were served a very nice meal. It is important that after leaders have worked hard all day, fought rush-hour city traffic, and rushed to church that you do not serve them rubber chicken and hard green beans!
- Build Community – Leaders enjoy being around other leaders. It is important than in any leadership gathering you create times to build relationships.
- Create Memories - Leaders cannot move into the future until they have first touched the past. A special video was made chronicling NorthStar’s story since its inception.
- ROI – As part of the presentation, real baptism numbers and the amount of children served were provided to the attendees.
- Provide A Biblical Perspective - Mike opened his time buying telling the story of David and Goliath. Christian leaders deeply desire biblical truth and operate best from the foundation of a biblical worldview.
- Create A Sense Of Urgency - NorthStar is conducting a debt retirement campaign. Mike began to unpack all the things God wants the church to do that the mortgage is preventing.
- Give Specifics – Leaders desire specifics rather than ambiguity. They want to know how their financial resources will be leveraged. Mike discussed specific partnerships with the mayor’s office that would help schools, foster parenting, and a local homeless shelter just to name a few of the initiatives this campaign would help fund.
- Solutions – Leaders LOVE being a solution to problems. Mike showed how their contribution could meet the needs of the items listed above.
- Provide Security – Mike passionately communicated that he was at the church from its beginning and he plans on being there for the next 20 years.
- Give Leaders Time To Process Important Decisions – Often leaders do not make quick decisions. The commitment date for the campaign is February 3rd. This gives them almost three months to pray about their decision. Great commitments require a great deal of time for processing and re-ordering of one’s life.
- Give Leaders A Platform - Leaders love leading and influencing other leaders. Mike had two leaders in the room share what NorthStar had meant to them.
- Help Make Their Vision Become Reality - One of the leaders who spoke mentioned how bringing in Joseph Sangl to help with his personal finances meant so much to him. This gentleman is now in position to accomplish more with his life than he ever dreamed possible. It is important to note that before the church asked him for help with their debt, the church helped him with his. This is HUGE!
- Bless Their Children - When Mike asked how many people in the room had children come to Christ while at NorthStar, over the half the room raised their hand. BTW, I was one of them!
- Say “Thank You” – The evening closed by having the staff present everyone with a small gift demonstrating their gratitude. That is just total class.
- Give Them Your Personal Time – A leader’s most valuable commodity is time. Rather than slipping out the side door, Mike and his wife went to the door and personally shook everyone’s hand as they left.
Afterwards, I stood in the parking lot and spoke with an older gentleman who I have known for over a decade. I asked him what he thought of the evening. He said he had been part of many campaigns and this was the best initial meeting he had ever attended. Of course I asked why. He said, “Brian, for seven years I knew we had debt. Now it has a name – Goliath. I’m ready to kill it.”
Mike Linch is a dear friend and a GREAT senior pastor and leader. What I am about to say is not hyperbole. I was driving home tonight and thought to myself that every time I’m around Mike, he makes me want to be more like Jesus. Maybe that is the best compliment I can ever give someone.
Pastors and church leaders, what is one thing from the list above that you can begin doing today to better honor your volunteer leaders?
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