Here's a good reminder of what should be obvious. Church Today lists ten unreasonable expectations that officers and pastors often have of our fellow lay servants in the church, who volunteer their gifts, time, and energy. I won't list all ten, but here are three that struck me.
- "Function without encouragement. Every one of us needs an “atta boy” every once and a while. Show your volunteers how much you value them by encouraging them publicly and personally, both verbally and in writing."
- "Drop everything because you failed to plan ahead. A lack of planning on the staff’s part is not a spiritual badge of honor, it’s a ministry handicap. When you work ahead several weeks you have time to seek and listen to the Spirit’s leading and plan accordingly. When you don’t work ahead and expect people to “be available” when you need them you’re not functioning in grace."
- "Work for free. The definition of volunteer is “a person who works for an organization without being paid.” While you can’t financially compensate them, it doesn’t mean you can’t bless them for their help. Donuts, granola bars, snacks, coffee, tea and water all go a long way towards showing volunteers you value them. You couldn’t hire the number of people you need each week for $20. But for that amount you could bless them for being part of the team."
The author also observes, "For the extroverts its [sic] an invigorating experience that is its own reward. For the introverts its [sic] a duty to be fulfilled." As one married to a real introvert, I can attest to the additional weight sometimes imposed on people, without consideration of their personality types.