Years ago I got in great shape doing a workout called P90X.
Every day I would allow this maniac fitness guru on the video screen to torture me for a solid hour.
While I was in pretty good shape to start, this took my fitness to the next level. I was able to do more pull-ups, push-ups, cardio and jump-squats than what I thought humanly possible. How I looked, felt and moved improved.
P90X's system is built around a single principle called Muscle Confusion. While the name may be a marketing ploy, the idea works. After a short amount of time your body memorizes workout movements you're putting it through and ceases to grow. To keep the growth alive you need to change your workout every few weeks. P90X embraces this and the results shine through.
Change sparks growth.
One area I coach a lot of pastors in is growing their volunteer teams. Just like your physical body, a few small adjustments can incite growth in this realm. Churches see immediate addition to their volunteer teams by doing these insanely practical things.
Create 3 new jobs today
I am not a believer in making a general call for volunteers. Specific asks net specific results. One exercise is to ask "what's missing" from a team and create those job descriptions. Maybe a meal coordinator for weekend volunteers in kid's ministry or someone to send weekly schedules to the worship team or a social media coordinator. Distribute these jobs to your current team and ask them to help you find the right people. Share them on your social media outlet. Consider highlighting them during a Sunday service.
Make serving attractive
Don't beg for volunteers, attract them. No one likes to join a group that seems needy or weak. However, people gravitate to what's attractive. Adjust your language and mentality to reflect volunteering as THE place to belong in your church. Talk about it in every sermon, offer it as the only next step to get connected for a season, and use social media to highlight individuals who serve. Here are a few examples from my church.
Sign people up for a season
Use a natural season in your annual calendar to recruit a wave of volunteers. Years ago my church did a "Summer Surge" where we recruited new volunteers to serve for 8 weeks during the summer. We promoted this over the course of 3 Sundays, signed people up quickly and unleashed them to serve. The clear beginning and ending time allowed people to know what they were signing up for. Seasons begin and seasons end. Natural on ramps and off ramps encourage people to try something new out. Practically, their service filled gaps that our year-round volunteers left during the busy vacation season.
Move your best people to your worst team
Target one anemic volunteer team at your church and strategically move some of your best leaders from one of your healthiest teams to that weak team for a season. Notice I said "leader", not "do-er." Doers are not necessarily leaders. Faithful people are not always leaders. Leaders are leaders. When you add leaders, you add influence. Staff that team's deficiencies. Put someone new in charge. The combination of this will do two things: It will revitalize the weak team with people of high capacity and it will create a leadership vacuum that others can step up into.
I can still do a lot of pull-ups and have maintained the level of fitness I achieved with P90X. The key is that I no longer do the routine I learned with P90X; I had to change. Change sparks growth. Tweak your approach to volunteers and see your team thrive!
Kevin Lloyd is a coach for CourageToLead.com. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia and is is the founder of LeadBravely.org which serves as a hub for practical leadership.