“Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love.”
Ministry is predicated on relationship. We have no leverage with our people except that which is fostered through love, trust, and care. But not everyone understands how relationships work. In fact, most people suffer some form of relational dysfunction, which is why it’s crucial we uphold the criteria that make relationships healthy.
- We need to respect others, meaning we treat everyone like an individual, not a “volunteer” or a “middle-aged white guy” or a “single mom.” Respect means knowing their name, knowing their story, and being willing to engage that person in the midst of that story in that moment.
- Communication should be honest, forthright, and consistent. They should be able to make plans around what we say and expect responses within a reasonable timeframe.
- Your people need to know they will always get “you”—that’s essential to developing trust. Your moods can’t sabotage your ministry.
- The best relationships are those with significant memories: you’ve shared laughs, grief, and struggles and now recall those times with fondness.
What can we do to strengthen the relationships we have with our volunteers?
- Ask personal questions like: What do you want? How can you get the most out of this experience? What do you think God is trying to show you?
- Don’t just thank people for their service; affirm the gifts God has used and is cultivating. “Prophesy” their continued development and celebrate their successes along the way.
- Share your own fears, amusements, challenges, and dreams. This is normal. Don’t let your relationships be one-sided. Give of yourself simultaneously as you ask for something of them.