Three Words Every Volunteer Needs to Hear

As multisite leaders, our words have power and influence that echo in the hearts and minds of our volunteers beyond the weekend. What we say, and how we say it, matters more than we realize. In the rush of our weekend responsibilities, and in the spirit of completing tasks quickly, we often fail to think critically about what we’re saying to our teams in the heat of the moment, and it’s in these moments that our words either build up our volunteers or tear them down.

If you’re like me, there have been moments where you totally said the wrong thing at the wrong time to a volunteer. You’ve crushed their spirit and sent them walking out the door. I’ve had to apologize for more moments like that than I would care to admit, and I would do anything to take those words back. I’ve had to learn the hard way just how powerful my words can be in both negative and positive ways. The words we plant in our volunteers hearts and minds today determines the world we reap tomorrow. Our volunteers need to hear words that build them up, empower them, and release them to serve with confidence.

“I trust you.”

I cannot think of another phrase that reinforces these truths more powerfully than, “I trust you.” Trust is the greatest expression of our gratitude. When we tell our volunteers that we trust them, it releases them to serve and make decisions with courage and confidence. When we fail to equip our volunteers with trust, we fail to empower them to lead and serve at any level in our churches. But before we can give trust away freely, we have to train properly.

If you can’t trust your volunteers to make the right decisions, you shouldn’t trust your training process either. We can’t blame our volunteers for indecision when our volunteer process lacks the proper training and coaching. When we provide the proper training and the right coaching, our volunteers are equipped to make decisions that emulate the DNA of our church.

If volunteers are the lifeblood of our churches, let’s equip them with the right training, and empower them with our trust. If you have volunteers that you can’t confidently say, “I trust you” to, it might be time to reevaluate your training process or redirect where they’re currently serving.

Create a world where your volunteers feel trained, trusted, and appreciated. What other words or phrases do you think volunteers need to hear?

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