How to Lead Quarantined Volunteers
As the global pandemic continues and tighter restrictions are being enacted, many of us just completed the second weekend of online services. I found a certain sense of togetherness when I saw people sharing photos of the livestream on Facebook or interacting as the service was going on. But that online togetherness doesn’t mask the fact that many of our servants are not serving. The disruption to our services doesn’t just mean that we’re losing the chance for face-to-face corporate worship, it means we’re losing the chance to corporately serve one another.
Since it doesn’t look like we’re going to be physically present with one another anytime soon, how should we be leading our parking team, our seating team, our kids team, and any other team that normally keeps our weekend services running?
1. Check in often.
Our first response shouldn’t be to mobilize our volunteers, but to shepherd our people. I was so encouraged last week to see many of our campus teams develop a call list to their campus membership: senior adults, single parents, hourly workers, and yes, volunteers. Let’s not be guilty of getting more service from them, but rather seeing how we can serve them.
2. Remember your span of care.
You can’t (or shouldn’t) take on the full weight of your volunteer team’s needs. Now is a great time to review your org chart and make sure you have your team broken down into manageable chunks. If you’re not there yet, consider asking another staff member to jump in and assist. As a “central guy” who doesn’t directly lead any volunteers, it was my privilege to join a campus staff team last week to make some calls…something I plan to do for the duration of the lockdown.
3. Point them to ongoing learning.
Many of our vols may find themselves with extra time on their hands. Act as a resource who directs them to great resources. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a ministry leader who is offering a webinar, podcast, or blog series (ahem) on ministering in the pandemic. Consider a “resource of the week” to help them brush up on their ministry skill set. Here’s a list of books that are perfect for your vols, and here’s my full recommended reading list.
4. Connect them to community opportunities.
Sure, your volunteer team shouldn’t need permission to serve your neighbors during this time, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving them permission! Encourage them to redirect the 2-3 hours they give to the church each week and find a way to give back to the most vulnerable. Some serving opportunities are limited because of exposure risks, but your church can provide a list of ways for them to get involved. (See an example of how the Summit is resourcing here.)
5. Celebrate their return.
I have a feeling that our first weekend back together will be met with a mixture of trepidation (What if we are still risking infection?), fear (How will our economy / church / lifestyle recover?) and uncertainty (What should ministry look like in this brand new world?)
But more than those things, I believe that Jesus’ Church is going to be more excited to come together than we’ve been in a long time. If there is a blessing to be found here, it’s that this crisis has woken many of us up from a lethargic approach to corporate worship.
So begin thinking now about what your relaunch weekend will look like. How will you celebrate Jesus? How will you honor each other? How will you mark one of the most significant events in our lifetimes and move forward in faith?
I’d be encouraged to hear how you are leading your volunteers during this season. Comment below.