Published: 3 years ago

Raising up Leaders for Your Guest Services Team

You can’t do it all. Hopefully you’ve realized that by now. You’ll never have the time, bandwidth, attention span, or energy to pull off all of the tasks that pile up on you.

That’s why shared leadership is so important, and why – if you’re in ministry – equipping the saints for the work of the ministry is your job. That is your job. If you are a pastor or ministry leader, your job is not to do all of the ministry. Your job is to help others do the ministry. And while that can sound pretty lazy at first blush, the reality is that raising up leaders is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things you’ll ever do.

…which brings us to this question submitted by Reid Adams, a staffer at First Baptist Orlando:

What is the role of your volunteer leaders in Guest Services? How do you select, train and develop volunteer area/team/service leads?

I think there are five key things to consider:

1. Define your areas where you need leaders. Don’t settle for the easy route, “Well, we just need ’em everywhere.” While there may be a hint of truth to that, look at it more strategically. Develop an org chart for your ministry area. Develop levels and layers of leadership. Look at all of the tasks you perform on a regular basis and figure out how you can give those away to a new leader. Our model is Campus Director > Shift Leaders > Team Leaders > Team Members, and our goal is that no one has more than 8-15 people that they are leading. Related post: Structuring Your First Impressions Team.

2. Look for ways to grown your own leaders. A common knee-jerk reaction is that we look for good leaders in other ministry areas and ask them to lead our existing teams. While there can be some merit to that, it creates two problems: (1) We have to fast-track leaders to help them understand the DNA of our teams, and (2) We overlook really good people who already understand that DNA. Don’t automatically choose a great leader who doesn’t know the culture. Rather, build a culture that develops your leaders. Related post: Who’s In Front Of You?

3. Tell them what you want them to do. I have a love/hate relationship with job descriptions. Love, because I’m a checklist guy and I think that everyone else should be, as well. Hate, because checklists often create robots instead of leaders, and the tasks are often outdated by the time the ink dries. So rather than a full page job description, consider a one-sentence job description paired with ongoing coaching. But no matter how you approach this, set clear guidelines and provide great feedback. Leaders want to know that they’re performing according to the parameters you’ve set. Related post: Help Them Help Them.

4. Set a clear leadership pipeline. Let’s be clear: not all volunteers should be leaders. A vol can be a great “doer” who stinks at being a “delegator.” What’s more, not all volunteers want to be leaders. But for those who do want to take a next step, you need to provide a clear pathway. Take your org chart (from point 1 above) and reproduce it for your entire team: what are the levels of leadership? What does it take to get from where I am to where I want to be? What learning / skills will be required along the way? Related post: Why Leadership Development Needs Poetry and Plumbing.

5. Reward your leaders by making them better leaders. Your leaders want to know that what they do matters, and one of the best ways to show them that is by spending time with them and helping them hone their skills. You can do that through ongoing training, regular meetings, on-the-spot coaching, and any number of other ways. One of our most effective methods is our High Capacity Volunteer (HCV) Cohort, which brings together a small number of leaders for training and coaching. Related post: Invest.


Want to submit a question for a future blog post? You can do that here.


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  1. Thanks for this awesome article Danny! I wish I read this a year ago. I feel as though I learned a lot of this the hard way and in chaotic order with my guest service teams.

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