This is a Guest Post by Nate Beaird. I think everyone who finds themselves on the computers “a lot” needs what Nate is sharing here, including myself. Time to get another kind of tan that’s not produced by the computer screen.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to be apart of a church that has volunteers who can’t volunteer enough, and live for the moment that the “Church Work-Day” is announced from the pulpit.
However, for the rest of the churches out there struggling to generate excitement for a church-wide volunteer project day– this is for you, a little “Give & Take.”
Here are a few suggestions that you could consider…
Take a Walk.
Schedule a time about a month before your work day, and take a walk with your church staff. Walk around your building, inside and out, with a clipboard and write down everything you see that needs replaced or fixed. Everything. Be sure to take pictures of everything you write down.
Take a Seat.
Sit down with your staff and talk about the items on the list. Consider everything. Order them into a list of importance. Use the pictures you’ve taken to decide.
Take a Look.
See that list? See that beautiful list!? Isn’t it exciting? What are you going to need for the things on this list to get done? Nails? Paint? Brushes? Landscaping fabric, or maybe some shelves? Make a list of items you’d need to accomplish these things. Be thrifty and frugal. Now, do your best to make a budget that’s needed for this work day.
Give the Vision.
Casting the vision to your congregation how this money will be spent. Get them excited about virtually doubling the size of the stage, or brightening the room up with a new coat of paint!
Take an Offering.
There’s no shame in asking people for a contribution to fix up God’s house a bit. People will help, remember, there’s always the people that wont be able to come on the scheduled day- but they’ll pay for the paint. If anything else, it’ll pay for the pizza for your volunteers! If you plan far enough ahead of time, you could do this to help raise funds.
Give an Opportunity.
The same day you share the vision, let them sign up for a project. Let them know about how many people will be needed for the major projects, but then let them sign up. Where are they going to sign up? Remember the list? Because you’ve thought ahead and want to make it as easy for people to help as you can, you’ve made sign up sheets according to everything on that list. Weeding around the side door is not as important as building the new stage, but I bet someone would do it.
Here’s some thoughts from Jeff Beaird, CEO of Blue River Homes, and experienced Project Manager:
“People have things that they love to do – yet I have seen so many times that work assignments kill the enjoyment of volunteering. For instance, lack of leadership sends a guy who is skilled at handyman projects to a task of serving drinks to others. Likewise, a skilled chef is overlooked and is asked to fix door hinges or change light bulbs. People love to volunteer within their comfort zone or skillsets and they are more productive and effective if they are tasked accordingly.”
You can read the rest of Jeff’s thoughts on Volunteer Coordination HERE.
Take your sign up sheets and set up your teams according to where people are excited to help out. If needed, you may need to re-assign certain people as you need them. Be a leader and a project manager, you have to put the chess pieces in place to get this list taken care of.
Make sure as many of the projects are already set up for as you can. If a Sunday School room is going to be painted, try to make sure the tables and chairs are out of the way, the drop-cloths are already down, and the paint and paint brushes are there and ready to be used. Make sure there is plenty of fuel in the mowers, trimmers, and chainsaws with plenty of extra fuel cans on site.
Although you can offer a helping hand here and there- your job is to make sure the overall operation is running smoothly. Make sure you’re walking around, thanking your volunteers, encouraging them, taking pictures, and making it fun for them. If this is a pleasant experience and you were well prepared- they will volunteer next time, and probably convince a friend who wouldn’t ordinarily come.
Trust me, before and after photos are great for promoting the next church work day, and it’s good to have for the history of the church.
When everything is fixed, painted, mowed, built and organized- give praise. Not only to the people that made this day happen, but to God who’s house you are privileged to worship and teach at. He helped stretch your dollars, brought you people you needed, and gave you peace while you thought for sure your were taking “Crazy Pills.” You weren’t … you were just managing.
This is also important for the church members to see and do. “In all things” we give thanks! In fact, this might be a good time to show those “Before & After” photos.
Remember- Make it easy for people to help you, and they will!
[Image from Stuck]