Do you recruit volunteers or do you help to shape and grow leaders? The answer to that question will give you huge insight into your church and your ability to effectively disciple others and carry out the mission of God.
Mike Breen’s new book is called Multiplying Missional Leaders. I just grabbed an e-copy and I am sure that there will be blog posts to follow as I read over it. But one thing that Mike and the 3DM crew have shaped my thinking on this past year is the idea of leaders vs. volunteers. The difference is really significant.
A volunteer is someone who gives their time to fulfill a specific role that supports the larger work of the church. This role has been shaped for them by someone else and their vision. In many churches there is a singular vision, cast from the senior leader, the truly shapes all volunteer positions. Every church needs volunteers. Someone needs to help clean, to greet, to usher, to sing, to teach classes, to help set up, to help tear down, to run the sound board and a host of other activities. These roles are vital and necessary. But, they can be limited in their impact on the individual.
In a volunteer role your task is handed to you. Success is simply defined by your completion of the task. They are sometimes roles that push us out of our comfort zone, but usually we volunteer in an area we are interested or already willing to serve. Most churches have systems in place to produce volunteerism among their congregants. This is very different than leadership development.
Leaders have very different tasks than volunteers. Leaders shape vision. Leaders recruit others to their vision. Leaders are forced to step outside their comfort zones into the unknown. This is where faith is stretched, the Holy Spirit empowers us and lives are reshaped. Very few churches have an effective process to produce leaders.
Our partnership with 3DM has radically changed the leadership pipeline of our church. For one, we actually have one now. The discipleship process we have in place is already paying huge dividends for us in our ability to grow leaders. Two years from now the culture of leadership development will be light years ahead of where it was when we began.
We still need volunteers, but for the first time as a pastor I can say that we are truly growing leaders in an intentional and reproducible way. So what about you? Are you recruiting volunteers or are you developing leaders?