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?


The Responsibility Every Multisite Leader Has

In the world of multisite ministry, most pastors and leaders wear multiple hats. The student pastor helps with adults classes and groups, children’s workers help with administrative tasks during the week, worship leaders look after the care needs of the campus, and the campus pastor jumps in wherever needed. Regardless of the position, or how many of them you hold, there is one thing every multisite leader must do, and the best multisite leaders know this. They know they have one job to execute at the campus level, and it may not be what you think, and it unquestionably requires a lot of hard work.

So what’s the job? What’s the role of every multisite leader? It’s to implement the vision of their senior leader.

Multisite leaders are vision implementors, not vision creators.

Sounds strong, right? Don’t get me wrong, we can be creative with the implementation of the vision, but we hit roadblocks when we try to create a vision different than the one God has given to our leaders. As implementors, we have to be sure that we fully understand, embrace and internalize our senior leader’s vision, because before we can ever implement something we have to own it, heart and soul. If we haven’t, our team and leaders will know right away that we are not fully bought into the idea and everyone wants to follow an authentic leader who is truly inspired by a clear vision.

Too many times, multisite leaders rush to the implementation phase without internalizing the true vision and reason behind the idea, or philosophy of their leadership. To avoid this mistake requires slowing down the rush to impress, asking further questions to understand better, and spending adequate time in personal prayer before public action. When we do these things, the vision takes root in our heart and mind long before we ever begin the implementation process.

The tension is the innate desire of every leader to create vision, rather than implement it. I’m not saying we can’t create as leaders, but rather what we create must flow from the source of our leader’s vision. Our leaders are counting on us to help them establish their God-given vision and not create a new vision altogether.

The easiest way to implement vision is to know what is most important to your leaders right now. In our church, the most important thing to our senior pastors right now is to see the majority of our church connected in groups. To copy the words of Andy Stanley, we believe “circles are better than rows.” Our leaders want to see the people of our church connected in a biblical community where encouragement, scripture, prayer and serving others is taking place. So my role, and everyone’s role on our team right now, is to champion the “groups” culture of our church.

But before we could ever implement this initiative with authentic passion, we had to internalize the reason behind this vision. After hearing from our leaders the why behind what a healthy “groups” culture could mean for our church, and further understanding the vision, we’re all working to implement groups in our spheres of influence. We still have our typical job responsibilities, and groups has become one of the ways we execute those tasks. It’s not just one department’s job; it’s everyones job – we all own the vision.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you internalize and implement your senior’s leaders vision.

Thriving as a Bi-Vocational Leader in Ministry

I’m not sure how my friend, Brandon Catoe gets it all done. He’s a husband, father, business owner, adventure seeker, and an incredible campus pastor at our Christ Fellowship Okeechobee Campus in Okeechobee, FL. I’ve never known Brandon to miss a meeting at church or the office, nor one of his son’s football games. So how does he get it all done?

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Brandon about what he’s learned the last two years while serving his family, leading his business, and growing his ministry influence, and below some tips Brandon shared:

1. “Stay anchored to the call.”
For Brandon, this is the call to ministry and building God’s kingdom. The natural pull for any business owner or leader, is the company. After all, it’s typically the company’s compensation that’s allowing you to offer additional time in ministry. Remembering the call is particularly significant on tough ministry days – days when you wonder if your sacrifice is worth it, if you’re making a difference. For Brandon, the conviction of the call compels him to stay committed to the life of the bi-vocational pastor.

2. “Establish accountability outside your business and church.”
Having a relationship that can help you process frustrations both at work, or in ministry, is key to your emotional health. An accountability partner that understands both worlds can be hard to find, but they’re out there. The most important attribute of this relationship is finding someone strong enough to remind you of your key convictions. Brandon has a weekly meeting with his accountability partner, and that keeps him grounded and focused on both his career and his church.

3. “Intentionally include your family in ministry.”
Because of the demands on the schedule, a pastor’s family can be excluded from ministry without intentionality, and that’s why Brandon is always working to involve his family. He continually shares the stories of transformation with them, and reminds them of what they’re accomplishing together. Another simple step he takes, is to keep his wife updated by forwarding to her any ministry related emails and calendar invites as soon as he gets them. This practice keeps her more connected to what is taking place within the ministry. As a bi-vocational pastor, learning how to involve your family will strengthen your family bonds.

4. “Stay connected to both teams.”
Every business owner and ministry leader knows that it’s all about the team. You can’t do one without with other. For Brandon, the corporate team gets four days a week and two hours each morning. This ensures that his day-to-day business operations will continue in his absence. Wednesdays and Sundays are committed to ministry. Wednesdays are typically for meetings and planning for the weekend, while Sundays are focused on his two services and building relationships with his volunteers. Being a team player and a team leader is vital to any bi-vocational leader’s success.

While I’m not a bi-vocational leader, I’ve learned a ton from Brandon. His ability to manage teams, protect his family time, and still have fun, inspires me to be a better leader and pastor. Are you a bi-vocational leader? If so, in what ways are you finding success in balancing both worlds?

9 Go-To Platform Statements for Multisite Leaders

Every week, multisite pastors and leaders stand atop a platform with a mic in their hand and make statements that either connect and engages their audience or ignores them altogether. Far too often, our words and phrases lack intention and connectivity. But, as campus pastors and multisite leaders, we must take advantage of each moment on the platform to make verbal connections with everyone in the room – first time guest or not.

1. “Thank you for saying yes to church today. We know that because you said yes to being here, you said no to being somewhere else, and we’re glad you did. Church is a choice, and we think you’ve made an excellent choice being here today.”
Recognizing that our new guests and regular attendees could have been anywhere else, goes a long way in connecting with them. Something or someone drew them here, and we should acknowledge that fact often.

2. “If you do one thing as a guest today, please fill out the Connection Card found in the seatback in front of you. Submitting a card is not about us getting your information, but rather a simple way to start a conversation.”
Guests often don’t know how to connect with our church at the next level, so we like to make the first step super easy.

3. “You’re sitting next to some of the most generous people I know.”
When the offering setup comes in the service, guests sometimes twist in their seats. I also like to relieve the pressure surrounding the “money” talk by letting them know no one invited them here to give today. At the same time, I’m letting them know giving is a significant part of our church culture.

4. “You might be just checking this whole church thing out; maybe your neighbor or friend promised you a meal if you came today. If that is you, we’re glad you’re here, and we’ve got about 35 minutes left to our service.”
Recognizing guests are visiting our church in response to an invite reinforces our invite culture in our church. Also, anytime I can forecast the remaining time or elements left in the service provides light at the end of the tunnel for newer guests.

5. “More than experiencing a great church today, we hope you experience the greatness of our God. He is the reason we gathered today. The songs we’ve been singing help us celebrate His greatness.”
I like to remind our guests and myself that the church experience is not our teams or even me, the service is about experiencing God’s presence and the person of the Holy Spirit.

6. “Just come back next week!”
I like to remind everyone at the end of our services that the most important thing they can do is to return next weekend, the weekend after, and so on. It’s our responsibility to help people understand the importance, and benefit of attending worship services week after week.

7. “We are one church that meets in multiple locations.”
Just because the regulars know we are a multisite church, it doesn’t mean the new guests know. I’m still surprised at the number of people who visit for the very first time, and don’t know we are a multisite church. I love helping our guests, and regular attendees think outside the four walls of our location.

8. “You might be hurting today, and we want you to know we are here for you. In fact, after service today our prayer team and staff will be available to pray with you.”
Every week people come to our churches looking for hope, healing, acceptance, and love. We’ve got to let them know up front that we’re here for them, and that prayer is not our last resort, but our first response.

9. “Showing up doesn’t mean you’re growing up. Take your next step and get connected.”
At first, this statement can seem harsh, but it is not aimed at guests, rather those who have been attending week after week, and have yet to get involved. It’s important to make the next step clear for everyone. At Christ Fellowship we encourage everyone to take The Journey – a 4-week experience. Following The Journey, the goal is to see everyone join a group and serve on the Dream Team at their location.

These are a sampling of the statements I often use to help connect with our guests, and increase the engagement of our regular attendees. Do you have some go-to phrases?

Comment below and share.