The Healthy Church Hub

As a church leader, it can be easy to just focus on keeping up with the work of the ministry. There is always something to do, people to lead, and ways to continue advancing the gospel. But what if you paused, looked deeper into your ministry, and audited where you are? Jessica Bealer helps us do just that on this episode of Church Leadership Labs. With her 22 years of ministry experience, Jessica leads our conversation in sharing how to maintain a healthy volunteer culture, ways to communicate the need for volunteers, and how to go beyond just maintaining a safe and secure environment by being a proactive communicator.

Common Hindrance To Ministry

When seeking out volunteers are you considering the needs of the people or just the needs of your ministry? That can be a challenging question for many. As a leader, you understand the need for volunteers to ensure that the operations of your ministry run smoothly but are you also considering how you are prioritizing a healthy volunteer culture? The lack of prioritizing healthy volunteer culture has become a common hindrance to many churches.

Healthy volunteer culture includes clarity, appreciation, accountability, empowerment, leadership development, challenge, and ownership. Those things will not happen unless you focus on them and you will not focus on them unless you prioritize them. Creating a healthy volunteer culture must be proactive and thoughtful. When we do this, we decrease burning out our faithful volunteers and add value to their development and leadership.

By working to create a healthy culture it will be easier to recruit, grow, and maintain your volunteers. They will be excited to serve and be poured into as they are pouring out for your ministry. Consider today how you can create a better environment and healthy culture for your volunteers.

Effectively Communicating Your Need for Volunteers

When in a pinch for volunteers, it can seem that the most effective way to communicate your need is to communicate it as loudly and as broadly as possible. For a lot of church ministries, that looks like making stage announcements or posting on social media. As efficient as those channels can be, they can also lack the passion, purpose, and excitement you want to express when recruiting your volunteers.

Unfortunately, if you are only communicating when you are in desperate need, no one is going to want to be a part of your team. Try to communicate when you are seeing big wins in your ministry as well. Share with your congregation the stories of life changes that have happened, how volunteers are being celebrated and finding community, and ways that your ministry is making a difference for the church as a whole. By being strategic and thoughtful in how you are communicating your need for volunteers you will be able to help create a lens for others to understand your mission and see value in serving alongside your ministry.

The Biggest Changes in Ministry Post Covid

One of the most positive changes that have happened post covid is that people are reverting to highly relational ministry. With mental health, isolation, and rejection on the increase, churches have been a place where many can find community, a place to belong, and feel known and accepted by others.

With this shift, we’ve also seen an opportunity arise for smaller churches to make a greater impact on their communities. No longer are people seeking a church that is trendy and cool, but they are seeking a place to belong and where others know them by name. 

We’ve also seen that there is a unique value that a church of 200 can offer that a church of 2,000 can not. No longer do churches need to try to be something they are not, but they can find a security to be exactly who God has called them to be and serve their community right where they are. By focusing on relationships, community, and connecting with others, we have a growing opportunity for the local church to be the local church and serve those within their communities.

Being Proactive to Provide a Safe Environment For Families

When trying to be proactive in securing a safe environment for the youngest in your church here are a few things to consider.

  1. When most people check out a church for the first time, they will first look at your website or social media channels. Be proactive and communicate what is important when it comes to safety and security on your website and social media channels. 
  1. In children’s ministry, make sure that volunteers know what to say and how to answer questions regarding your safety and security protocol. Share with the parents about your cleaning process, lockdown steps once services have begun, and how you value the importance of safety as a church. By communicating clearly, you will be able to ease a nervous parent and create an even better first-time experience. 
  1. With our world changing, safety guidelines continue to grow and shift. It’s important to have someone available who is up-to-date and knowledgeable about the protocol you should be enforced within your church. Having a Safety Coach allows you to have an expert to train and guide your volunteers and be an additional resource for your ministry. This person will help ensure protocol is being followed and help coach volunteers.
  1. Lastly, security should be visible on your church campus. When we go to the grocery store, mall, or sporting event we see security and those who are helping to provide a safe environment. Even in the church, security should be seen, present, and identifiable. Make sure your security team is wearing a common shirt, lanyard, or jacket to show others who they are. 

How to Enforce Safety and Security On Your Website

Having a safe and secure environment means something different than it did 30 years ago. By including your safety guidelines on your website, you will allow others to know the value and importance your church is placing on creating a safe and secure space. Here are a few things to include:

  1. Almost every church says their kid’s ministry provides a safe and secure environment. Define what your church is doing to ensure the safety of the children in your care. Explain in detail the measures are you taking and be specific.
  1. Explain the steps you are taking after every service to ensure that you are creating and maintaining a clean and sterile space.
  1. Communicate that there is an on-duty security team who is monitoring your building and enforcing safety measures for those within your ministry area.
  1. Share the steps you take to lock down your ministry area once services have begun. Explain to the parents the steps you are taking to keep the kid’s area safe. Share how you are locking doors and entrances, using wristbands or a number system to help identify families for pick up, and the steps your volunteers are taking to provide a safe place to learn about Jesus.
  1. If you have a safety coach, share how this person is leading and making everyone better because of their role. Explain how they are helping your team stay up to date on safety measures and how they are helping to enforce all protocols.

We understand the world we live in and what we need to be protected against. Help bring those visiting your church to ease by communicating clearly and providing specific details of how you are enhancing safety and security within your ministry. 

Wisdom for New Ministry Leaders

When it comes to leading a ministry it can be overwhelming for those first-time leaders. If you are a new leader, here are a few pieces of wisdom.

  1. Be a learner all the time. When we are consistently learning, we are consistently growing. Consider who you can learn from – those on your team, other churches in your area, and other influences. We can truly learn from anybody. Continue to seek out new information to learn and grow.
  1. Have a coach. We all need someone who is a little ahead of us and who we can learn and grow from. By having a mentor/coach you will have someone to help lead you, provide guidance and assistance, and help you take the next step to develop as a leader.
  1. Stay hungry to grow. Momentum and excitement increase when you are learning new things and interacting with others. Burnout happens when you are exhausted, don’t have new ideas, and feel at the end of your rope. Continue to fuel the fire by learning and staying hungry to grow.

One Essential Component of a Healthy Church

One of the most important components of a healthy church is to have layered leadership within your church. This is crucial because it allows the responsibility of leading your church to be divided out and equally carried.

Even for a smaller church, there is no way for one or two staff members to be able to care for all the volunteers, families, and first-time guests within your church. By having lay leaders in positions of authority inside your church, you can provide touchpoints for your volunteers, families, and more.

This is a multiplication factor as well. When you can do this, it will continue to grow your leaders, volunteers, and attendees. Your leaders will feel ownership and purpose, your volunteers will feel cared for and equipped, and your attendees will feel seen and welcomed. As a church leader, having multiple layers of leadership in every area of your church will help you maintain a healthy church and a healthy culture.

Links from the show:

Connect with Jessica Bealer:
Instagram | Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter | Email

Resources mentioned:
Book: Lead Small – Reggie Joiner
Podcast: The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership PodcastFavorite Technology: Evernote, Blinkist App