Ever ask a kid what it is they really enjoy doing, or what they think they are great at? It’s fun. It doesn’t take long for them to give a response. Why? They know! Kids light up when asked what they enjoy doing. And now businesses are taking a cue from this simple question with regards to their work force.
Businesses are learning that there is something to the “enjoyment” factor (doing what I’m good at) in the workplace. Companies are reorganizing to reflect a more strengths-based employee model. A recent example is a national real estate firm that now follows this model by teaming listing agents, relocation experts and other roles involved in the home buying or selling process. Their role is their strategic “sweet spot” to complete the sale. And they are seeing great results.
Leadership authors like Tom Rath, Michael Hyatt and Marcus Buckingham have written some helpful resources. These experienced business leaders have much to say on positioning people to shine in strength zones.
This totally factors into ministry, too!
It’s a smart move for ministry leaders to consider how best to use this strength zone concept regarding ministry volunteers. We’ve all got skills! We know that God has wired us with gifts and strengths to be used. First Corinthians tells us that as the Body of Christ, we all have a part to play. Ears hear. Eyes see. Each one is important. Each one excels at what they were created to do. Don’t ask an ear to see for you. Don’t ask an eye to hear for you. Each part needs each other collectively. When all parts work together- it’s a most beautiful thing.
It doesn’t matter what the ministry size, we all share a common challenge. All ministries need more volunteers and have spots that need filling (Stop. Back up and read that sentence again!!) It’s part of ministry tension as a leader. Those who go about attracting volunteers in vision-driven ways get better results. It’s how you take vision and connect the dots of serving using the God given strengths of your volunteers.
What plan do you have in place to ensure you are not just plugging holes to fill a need? What if we considered the business leader model, and began to attract volunteers by way of their strengths?
Volunteers in their “zone” take the ball and run. Promote a needed volunteer position by what a person might really enjoy doing while they serve. In volunteer interviews/forms be sure and ask a prospective volunteer the same question kids love to answer. I like the way author Reggie McNeal puts it: “What jazzes you?” Prayerfully consider where they can shine at what they enjoy doing. Resist the leader management urgency of the spot needing to be filled. Purposeful recruiting is much different. Strengths-based volunteer positions will yield a different outcome. Volunteers enjoy the serve. They add value, and even go beyond what’s asked. Let them! They stay longer. These people not only tell others about how much they enjoy what they get to do, they become recruiters. They are invested.
Like any team sport, coaches watch and study, and then seek to put a player where their skills can best be used for the team to win. If businesses know this, sports organizations know this, how much more should we who shine the light of Christ need to take a lesson from the strengths-based model. Pray about how you position and begin to lead your team of volunteers in their strengths.