[icegram messages="7405"]

Posts Tagged "volunteer"

Orange Week: Best Breakout Session

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Ministry, Orange

Sometimes Kyle and I watch that Food Network show: Best Thing I Ever Ate.  Not sure why.  Personally I think it’s torture to watch someone talk about an amazing food that would require a plane ride to enjoy.

I guess, in a sense, I’m doing the same thing today.  Sharing with you my favorite breakout session from past Orange Conferences could evoke some frustrations knowing that it might require a plane ride for you to enjoy it.  However… the plane ride is worth it.

Every year that I attend Orange I attend a Jeanne Stevens breakout.  No matter the topic.  I know it will be great.  I simply love to hear Jeanne’s approach to the things God leads her through.  Jeanne is a Christ-follower, a parent, a church leader… these are roles I can identify with.

Last year’s session was on “Pushing through Resistance in Ministry”.  You can read more of my live notes here.  Here are a few of my favorite take-aways:

Resistance in ministry is one of the greatest challenges to overcome.  Facing resistance is inevitable.  Question is, how does God want you to lead through it?

Conflict is necessary for a healthy team dynamic.  If you push it down, it’s like a beach ball in water… it’s going to pop up somewhere else.

Leaning into conflict releases greater impact and potential for your team.  Conflict is critical.

Find the task a volunteer can do 60 -70% as well as you can.  Empower them to do it and grow into the challenge.  Paint the vision for that task and let them grow into that.

Jeanne Stevens will be back at Orange Conference 2011.  She’s worth the plane ride.  Register today.

Learn More

Stranger in the Locker Room

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Ministry

Don’t be a stranger in the locker room.

This piece of wisdom came from my boss, Chuck Carringer. (Chuck blogs here & tweets here. You’d benefit greatly from following his insightful thoughts.)

It’s a bit of wisdom I’m familiar with though never heard it phrased so well. You see, Chuck is a former basketball coach so leadership lessons in the form of coaching analogies are not unusual.

It simply means that by making it a point to be in the locker room, the players grow accustomed to your presence. As a ministry leader, my players are my volunteers. I rely heavily on a volunteer team to do the work of the ministry. And the quality of that work is contingent on the volunteer and their ability to take what I give them and execute.

And the best way for me to know how and if my volunteer is well equipped, is if I’m in the room.

Yet my presence in the room can make volunteers uncomfortable… if it’s unusual.

But if my presence in the room is part of my weekly routine… a routine volunteers are accustomed to… in fact, expecting. Then I have the privilege of seeing how a kidmin room actually runs. Within this reality, I can see where to focus training and equipping. I can see where volunteers are most effective in connecting with the kids. I can experience how engaged volunteers and kids truly are.

It’s easy to judge the effectiveness of the weekend based upon the large group portion of the hour. Yet if you don’t have presence in the small group segment, then you miss out on a significant element of the child’s experience.

I appreciated Chuck’s reminder of the value of our attention to this detail. If I’m a stranger in the locker room, I’m not positioned to speak into all aspects of the team.

Learn More

Measuring Success in Children’s Ministry

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry


Last month at the Orange Conference I had the opportunity to teach a breakout session called Measuring Success in Children’s Ministry.

You can imagine the interest around trying to measure what we do and determine if we’re successful. There are so many things we do weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually to achieve our mission as ministry leaders. And though our ministry contexts look different, our denomination affiliations (or lack thereof) vary, our strategies and approaches differ… at the end of the day, we all share a common goal.

[bctt tweet=”We want to successfully lead people toward a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father.”]

The question we constantly wrestle through is simple yet remarkable challenging.

How do we determine that our ministry activities are effectively leading people toward a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father?

In the session, we highlighted a few of the ‘common’ methods of determining success in ministry:

  • Attendance/Participation
  • Feedback (Positive or Negative)
  • Number of Decisions/Life-Change

These are good things to measure and (candidly) these are metrics that should be logged and tracked over time. However, these methods alone don’t show a complete picture for the success of our ministry.

And if we’re truthful with ourselves, the reality is inescapable. We don’t really know the effectiveness of our ministries for years to come.

If you think about it… we don’t really know the effectiveness of…

…Preschool ministries until the child transitions to Elementary.

…Elementary ministry until the child transitions to Student ministry.

…Student ministry until that student transitions to what’s next.

But, what if there was a way to measure our ministry in a way that allows us to nimbly adjust & improve our outcomes?

Last year our staff read the book 4 Disciplines of Execution. One of my biggest takeaways was the concept of Lead and Lag Measures. Methods by which we measure success can fall under two different categories: Lead Measures and Lag Measures.

A Lag Measure is the measurement of a result you are trying to achieve. By the time you get the data the result has already happened.

A Lead Measure is a predictive, influenceable action that foretells a result.

The methods referenced above (Attendance, Feedback, Decisions) fall under the Lag Measure category. They don’t influence the outcome. They reflect it.

In order to successfully measure our effectiveness in ministry, we need to incorporate both Lag Measures & Lead Measures into our evaluation process. In addition to the metrics we track from one week to the next, we need some predictive, influenceable actions that foretell the results that we want.

A great example of the difference between Lead and Lag is the difference between the app MyFitnessPal and the scale.

Both are tools to help you determine your success in gaining or (more likely) losing weight. But the key difference between these two measurement tools is that one is a Lead Measure while the other is a Lag Measure.

Let’s look deeper:

On my journey to regain my 20 year old figure (insert canned laugh), I start by determining how much weight I want to lose. Then I make a plan that looks something like this:

  1. Eat Healthy
  2. Exercise
  3. Measure

Once a week I’ll step on the scale to find out if I’m on track. The scale is a Lag Measure because it can only reflect my success from the previous 7 days. I can’t go back and adjust my behaviors from the previous 7 days based upon what the scale tells me. But I can certainly make adjustments for the future.

Lag Measures are helpful and important to the process of evaluation. But by themselves, they are not as effective.

Now, if I use MyFitnessPal in addition to the scale… then I will log the food I consume and the exercise I do each day. At the end of the day MyFitnessPal gives me a predicted outcome 5 weeks in the future based upon today’s activities… “If every day were like today, in 5 weeks you’ll weigh…”

MyFitnessPal is a Lead Measure because it measures my behaviors and allows me to make adjustments with each meal I eat. It’s predictive and influenceable.

Paired with the scale, my chances of success increase dramatically because I can make adjustments as I go so that the number reflected on the scale at the end of the week is closer to my goal.


Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could measure all our ministry activities in such a way that we could say…

“If every week were like this week, next month we will be…”

“If every month were like this month, in one year we will be…”

“If every year were like this year, in 5 years we will be…”

At Orange, we believe that’s possible. In fact, in addition to the Lag Measures that are typically used, there are 5 Lead Measures we can use to measure our ministries for effectiveness. Orange calls them Gauges. Here they are with brief descriptions of each:

Gauge #1: Integrate Strategy – Align leaders to lead with the same end in mind.

Gauge #2: Refine the Message – Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, memorable experiences.

Gauge #3: Reactivate the Family – Parents actively participate in the spiritual formation of their own children.

Gauge #4: Elevate Community – Everyone is connected to a caring leader and a consistent group of peers.

Gauge #5: Leverage Influence – Create consistent opportunities for students to experience personal ministry.

The important thing to note is that depending upon our “seat on the bus” there are some areas we can influence and some we cannot. I’ve had great conversations with High School, Middle School, Elementary and Preschool leaders who look at these gauges and say,

“That’s great. But I only have influence over my area of ministry. This looks like a whole church strategy.”

And they’re right. This is a whole church strategy. But you don’t have to wait for your senior leadership to embrace this. Focusing on where you have influence is the best place to start.

How can these gauges help your specific area of ministry?

Learn More

Every Marble has a Story

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Ministry

Have you ever talked to a little boy with marbles?  Each marble has a story.  If you take the time, he’s willing to tell you the story for each one.

“Marble stories” are cute, funny and they tell you a little something about their world.  Last week I posted here about a Culture of Engagement.  A strong Culture of Engagement among your volunteer team intentionally positions volunteers to interact with the kids in their care.  To hear the “marble stories”.  These stories remind us why we do what we do and inspire us to dig in a little more.

As my volunteers continue to engage, here is what I’m looking for now:

  • Are they walking away with “marble stories”?
  • What avenue is in place to share those stories with us (staff)?
  • What tool will I use to share those stories with the rest of my volunteer team?
Learn More

Ordering My Stars_my volunteer org chart

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry, Volunteers

starry night

Well… maybe I’m not ordering the constellations. But, as a ministry leader, my role is to oder the stars on my team and set them up to shine. [bctt tweet=”But, as a ministry leader, my role is to order the stars on my volunteer team and set them up to shine.”]

A recent post on Volunteer Organizational Charts prompted a few requests for an example. Below is a link to a pdf version of an Organizational Chart that represents the Elementary team at one of our campuses. I hope this helps.

Here’s a brief explanation to help you decipher some of the lingo.

Page 1 is an overview of all worship services at this campus, the specific Volunteer Coach, Team Lead and Small Group Leader roles needed for each grade. It’s a projected need based upon past attendance trends to help me remember how many leaders I need in order to prepare for what I’m asking God to bring.

  • Coach – this role is responsible for leading and shepherding a group of Team Leads. Generally a Coach will play a dual function. They will run certain areas of ministry during a weekend worship service. In the case of this Org Chart, these Coaches run the show during a worship service and ensure the volunteer team has what they need and policy & procedures are upheld.
  • Team Lead – this role is responsible for leading and shepherding a group of Small Group Leaders. A Team Lead plays a dual function in that they are also a Small Group Leader leading their own group of kids. During the worship service, they take lead on delegating and ensuring kids land in the right group, strategizing when a leader is out, apprenticing new leaders and keeping their thumb on the pulse of their team.
  • SGL – the Small Group Leader is the most important role we have. This person is responsible for leading and loving their group of kids.

Page 3-6 represent each service team by time. Each team is ultimately led by the Elementary Volunteer Coordinator (staff position). All other roles are filled by Volunteers. Here are a few things to note…

  • Last names were removed to protect the innocent. 😉
  • “WIG!” means Wildly Important Goal. That means we are still recruiting.
    • Some of the “WIG!”s are there for growth. We know that if we continue on an upward growth trend then we need these roles when the attendance surge hits again in August/September.
    • Other “WIG!”s are because we just haven’t found the right person yet. We’ve learned over time that it’s so much better to have an empty spot in a leadership role rather than the wrong person filling it. It’s hard on everyone involved. So if we don’t have the right person to elevate to a leadership role… we wait, we watch and we let time reveal who that person is.

Elementary Organizational Chart

An important note re: our Coaches and Team Leads. We’ve learned that the more we define the behaviors of a role, the more successful someone is in it.  What I mean is… [bctt tweet=”the better we explain to someone what to do to be great, the better equipped they are to be great.”]

When we invite someone into a Coach or Team Lead role, we equip them with 5 behaviors that will make them successful. Read 5 Things to Help Your Volunteers Lead Better.

Learn More