How to Create the Ideal Volunteer

I have always been fascinated with sports dynasties. Whether it is a team I cheered for like the Bulls of the 90’s…or a team I always root against like the Patriots, it is hard to deny the impact of a dynasty team. They are prolific and create legacies that stand the test of time.

A dynasty team is on one end of the spectrum, and on the other side sits my hometown Atlanta Braves. For the last few years the Braves have been in a constant rebuild. Fans in Atlanta do not carry a lot of excitement for the upcoming season, because we know we are into a rebuilding phase. Rebuilding is not a fun phase, it just takes work and time and there is no substituting for it.

Volunteer teams have cycles and times when they need to go through rebuilding as well. At 12Stone Church today is the one-year anniversary of us launching 5 campuses on a single day. The process of launching those campuses meant we “sent out” a lot of volunteers – and had to begin rebuilding teams at our established campuses.

The process of rebuilding teams to a healthy place takes time. Building better volunteers takes time – it is a slow process that happens over time, but we as leaders desire quick change.

Quick change is not a bad thing, but when it comes to building better volunteers there are a few things that move slow and there is no way to cheat the process:

Catching DNA takes time – embracing new DNA does not happen over night, it takes time. When you go to Chick-Fil-A and say “thank you” the employees are trained to reply “my pleasure.” That response is trained into employees so it can be almost involuntary. It takes time for that automatic response to become engrained in a Chick-Fil-A team member.

Building Relationships takes time – you cannot microwave relationships. The bond between teammates that allows the team to go farther faster is forged with a slow cooker process. Strength in relationships is developed with shared trust and common experiences. These things happen naturally over time to develop strong bonds.

Gaining Muscle Memory takes time – There are things you intentionally do each day, and there are things you naturally do. Muscle memory helps certain competencies become second nature. Repetition over time allows our bodies to embrace muscle memory processes so they become second nature.

If you want to build into your team and help your volunteers become better than prepare yourself for the slow and disciplined process.

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