Part 3 on Hosting a Short Term Volunteer Team. 
By Pastor Kent Reeder 
Illumine Church in Rock Hill, SC

Conversation Handout
Volunteer Team Handbook


Managing Your Team: Float Like a Butterfly

 We had six. After canvassing nearly 4,000 homes and meeting hundreds of people at the Come-See-Me festival, after giving away 500 water bottles and tons of information about Illumine Church - hyping the launch as much as we knew how - we had six visitors at the launch service.

 Which was AWESOME.

 Admittedly, I noticed that our volunteers weren’t quite as excited as they might have been if we’d had 60 or 600. But because we’d worked hard at keeping our eyes on the big picture, and because they knew they had worked hard and done well, it was awesome.

 I (Pastor Kent Reeder) learned a few things about managing people. Between the great Kingdom Workers we had, my mom being in town, and our fantastic core group, I couldn’t be everywhere. Others needed to drive. To make decisions about how to approach canvassing neighborhoods. To run after a good conversation if it presented itself. And I had to learn to give responsibility away.

 Our Kingdom workers were awesome volunteers, but they were also awesome people. Nevertheless, being thrown together with 6 strangers for 10 days is a lot to handle, especially when you’re in a new place doing new things. One of my number one goals through the week was to regularly check with each individual volunteer to see how they were doing both personally and interpersonally with the group. It was beneficial to monitor personal relationships

 Whether you think 6 first-time visitors at the launch service is a big deal or not, our volunteers didn’t approach that day as the ultimate climax of the week. From event to event and canvass to canvass, we worked hard to celebrate victories. I worked hard to make sure there would be victories. Setting goals, not small ones but specific ones, helped us move from win to win throughout the week. Whatever we can do, it helps the volunteers if we can create and celebrate wins.

 I still get updates on our Kingdom Worker’s families. They still ask about Illumine and the prospects they helped bring in. We are still connected on Facebook. Those relationships are strong enough to still exist because while we worked hard, we played hard, too. Our core families each took an evening during the Kingdom Worker’s stay to host dinner. We had tons of fun, and it was a good way to connect the volunteers to the families, not just to the pastor. Work hard, play hard, focus on fellowship. 

 Our volunteers were always busy. If you look at the schedule in this overview document, you’ll see that they were booked pretty solid. They worked hard. Your team will, too. The key is, you have to work harder. The work of managing a team is strange at first. You want to be doing exactly what they are doing. The trouble is, you can’t. You have to float from prepping the next activity to making sure they’re engaged in the present one. From managing the results of the last canvass to making sure the maps are ready for the next. From encouraging one of them after a particularly unkind doorstep conversation, to helping the slow group get their section done at the same time as the others. Work harder than they do, but give them all the credit.

 Finally, let them rest. They must have time each day to unwind. More importantly, they must have time to worship. We worked at that each morning in the devotions, and I made sure that they were as free as possible during the launch service so they could simply worship with us. They’d worked hard for 10 days, they deserved it.

 These people want to care about your congregation. Let them, help them, equip them to do so.