And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master–God in heaven.
(Colossians 4:1 MSG)
Finding good help in church or business can be difficult. Whether you are overseeing a volunteer ministry organization or running a company, there is no shortage of people looking for positions. So why is it that mid-level managers and Human Resource professionals, not to mention pastors, struggle with keeping quality people in positions of need? Perhaps the answer is staring them in the mirror.
When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Colossae all those years ago, there evidently was a management problem then too. Sometimes the overseers take for granted the faithful workers so they can deal with the problems of keeping the business afloat. There’s a great parallel for business today as managers look to deal with costs in order to improve their bottom lines in this tough economy. Unfortunately, they are looking at people rather than systems to fix the problem. Incentives are leaving the workplace so profits can be fattened and in many cases, employees aren’t even being communicated with as to why.
The same scenario plays out in local churches as pastors sometimes fail to recognize the thankless work of their volunteers. Many times we are guilty of just nodding our head on occasion and telling them “thanks” every few months. Meanwhile we turn our attention to people who many times aren’t contributing anything to the mission of the church but who pull at our schedules wanting to discuss this and that. We do this in the name of service and because we don’t want to “rock the boat”. Meanwhile, our volunteers just keep chugging along doing the thankless jobs that are so badly needed.
It’s not that we shouldn’t be trying to connect with new people. We should. But I have learned that great churches (and businesses for that matter) are made up of people who do the little things well. I’m blessed with a church family who will take time for the little things. Wiping down a table, picking up trash, refilling the coffee pot. All of this being done behind the scenes so everyone can enjoy worship. As much as is possible, I try to do little things for all of them to let them know I care and see. In business, we should do the same thing. Cutting incentives just to save a buck may increase profits in the short term but when quality people leave for better situations you will suffer by spending more to retrain inadequate help. Here’s a few things you can do to show your appreciation to your workers/volunteers…
- How about a coffee card for someone? Is $10 too much to let them know you care?
- Take 15 minutes and make five, 3-minute calls to people in your church/organization. Let them know how much you value them and their time. You don’t have to be long winded. Just take some time to let them know you care about them.
- Take another 15 minutes and write three brief notes to other people in your group. Thank them for their service and let them know you are praying for them.
Those three suggestions alone bless 9 people in about a half-hour. NINE PEOPLE. Can you do that?
Being a good leader means understanding that you cannot do it all nor do you have to. Understand the gold mine you have with your people and serve them today.