Today’s post is from Cooke Media Group’s Executive Producer, Dan Wathen (above right). Before coming on our team, Dan was a church media director, and he also directed national television programming. When we consult with churches and ministries regarding their communication and media, one of Dan’s priorities is making sure volunteers are valued and trained. So today, he shares why volunteers can be a church’s most important asset during a crisis:
DAN: It’s been a month since most of us have seen our church volunteers. It can be easy to get caught up in the urgency of preparing Sunday’s livestream, attending zoom staff meetings, and working on your next message. When you don’t see people face to face, we tend to forget them. But right now, one of your most valuable assets are your volunteers because it’s a passionate army ready to be deployed – even from home. So during this shutdown, here are 5 ideas I encourage you to act on right now:
1. Pick a day this week to hold a Zoom connection call with your volunteers. Check in on them, encourage them, and keep them motivated about the future. There’s nothing quite as powerful as when a volunteer hears from the pastor or other leader, so make that connection soon.
2. If it’s possible, call each of your volunteer leaders personally. And note that I said call, not text or email. This is your chance to have a personal conversation to see how they’re doing and if there are any areas you could be in prayer with them about. With your leaders, it’s also a good time to start planning for how your church will emerge from the shutdown.
3. Many churches are creating more content now than before COVID, which means that even during the shutdown, there’s plenty of work to go around. What are the new areas of service you could create for your volunteers who may be at home with extra time on their hands and who have a passion to help the church?
4. I would especially encourage you to connect regularly with your communication and media volunteer team. You may have cut down your live streaming crew because of social distancing. But your communication team is helping you share a message of hope to your community and beyond on a variety of media platforms. Get your people excited about what is happening through media because they are a vital part of that! Then share your heart for moving forward.
5. Most important, you may only think of volunteers in the context of them being live on-site. But think about all they could be doing to help today right from their homes:
– Making phone calls to check on and lift the spirits of church members.
– Pre-planning for how the church will start back when the shutdown is lifted.
– Encouraging church members on the importance of continued financial giving during the crisis.
– Emailing members reminding them of Sunday’s live stream.
– Engaging in social media outreach to keep the church front and center in the minds of the members.
– I could go on, but you get the idea.
Keep connected to your volunteers through this season as much as possible through one-on-one engagement and Zoom-type connections. Sure it’s an effort, and I understand that as a church leader you have a lot on your plate. But let’s keep those volunteers thinking and planning, because they will be a critical key to successfully emerging from this crisis.