Q&A: How Do You Communicate Your VHQ?
I’m launching a VHQ at my church and trying to figure out the language the staff should adopt when talking about the purpose of VHQ with their volunteers. As in, how should I communicate to the staff, so they can communicate to the volunteers?
[Parker McGoldrick, Church Planting Resident, First Family Church, Akeny, Iowa]
[For context on VHQ (Volunteer Headquarters), read this post first.]
If I had to boil the purpose of a VHQ down to three, it would be these: relax, relate, and review. (I definitely did not plan on going with alliteration, but I started the last half of the sentence and my inner Southern Baptist came out.)
Your VHQ should serve as a backstage / offstage time where volunteers don’t have to be “on,” and can grab coffee and a snack and hang out for a few minutes. It’s important to communicate that this is not a meal…both to those who are working VHQ and those who are benefiting from it. That has burned us more times than I can count. (That said, if your philosophy and budget allows it and you want to make it a meal…some churches do…then you do you, boo!)
VHQ should serve as an opportunity to get to know some people that might not be on their immediate team, for pastors to get to know volunteers, etc. Whether you have a dedicated room with couches and tables or a designated spot in the far corner of your lobby (after the service has started, of course), set the space up with friendships in mind.
We do occasionally use VHQ to go over some component of training. I recommend never more than twice per month and never more than ten minutes at a time. If we’re pulling a bait and switch on vols – promising donuts and delivering a lecture – then they’ll soon give up on VHQ.
[Related post: Should We Have a Volunteer Huddle?]
Lightning round: other principles to communicate
- VHQ is not an indefinite hangout: vols only go in when the skeleton crew is in place and they head back to their spot before the service ends.
- It’s not a meal (I know I already said that, but I can’t stress it enough). We’re not trying to impress you with culinary skills or breaking the budget. We are trying to appreciate you via the medium of granola bars and coffee.
- It’s for volunteers who are serving that day. Not for volunteers who are just showing up to worship. Not for volunteers’ kids. Not for volunteers’ friends. You need to be stingy with your VHQ.
One last thing: let’s talk budget.
It’s fair to ask, “Who’s paying for this?” Perhaps your budget allows you to fund VHQ outright. But if you’re just launching, it may be that you have to adjust a pre-existing budget to cover expenses.
In our context, VHQ is under the umbrella of the Guest Services Team, but it serves all weekend ministries. In other words, our Production and Worship and Kids teams can all benefit from that space.
There have been times where we’ve asked those ministries to kick in a small amount of budget dollars in order to help with costs. You may want / need to follow a similar model. As you’re communicating the value of VHQ to your staff, it’s a good time to agree upon what they may need to contribute.
photo credit: Rebecca Hankins