Language That Burns Out Your Volunteer

Last Updated on: Nov 4, 2019 @ 4:04 pm

Volunteering at a portable church is no small task. No matter what team you serve on, it takes sacrifice and commitment to serve faithfully.

In this vlog, our Director of Sales & Marketing describes his experience volunteering at portable churches and the power of the leaderships language about portability. 

As a part of portable churches for 22 years, Kevin has learned much about the ins and outs of successful and unsuccessful portable churches. The first church plant he was a part of was setting up and tearing down every week in a theater and it was not a PCI system. It was a cobbled-together system that they made up on their own. They built everything from scratch and did their own thing altogether. It took the team about 2.5-3 hours to set everything up every week. The team had fun doing it, but they considered themselves martyrs getting the job done, grunting it out every week. After that church plant, he moved to a church with a PCI system and the set up was significantly better. The martyr mentality changed into a worship mentality. What the setup team was doing was just as important as the worship team or kids’ ministry and they were able to be more focused on people than on equipment. One of the main take away’s from both of these experiences was the power of the culture. 

Whether it’s by design or by default, every church has a culture. It’s not a question of if your church has one, but rather, how is it working for you?

You probably have heard that said numerous times, but it’s so true. And if there is something that is negative in your culture and you don’t deal with it, that bad grows along with your church. With that said, here is the one thing that I have seen over and over again, regardless of whether you have a smart, intelligent system or one that you cobbled together on your own. It is the kind of thing that can sneak inside of your church and destroy a lot of morale and excitement, I call it the thankful apology.

It’s that thing where you walk up to your volunteer and you say, “Dude, thank you so much for setting up today, I am so glad that you’re here. I know it’s such hard work doing this. And I know that you’re just grunting it out, doing this week after week. And someday, we’re not going to have to do this. We’re going to be in a permanent building, and it’s going to be so much better. But man, we’ve got to get there, we’ve just got to grunt it out for now and how cool is this that we’re doing this?” And it’s that negative that is tacked onto the positive that really just slides in and creates a negative culture. Because what you’re doing is you’re setting up the mentality of, “this is a horrible experience.” And it gets people to start thinking that serving in a portable church is a pain as opposed to serving being an honor. When you hear someone say “Someday, we don’t have to do this” really, what they’re saying is that when you get a building, then you will have arrived.

So instead, change your language to sound more like this, “Hey, we have already arrived. This is amazing. How exciting that we get to do this. We are here, we are the church, we don’t need a building. A building doesn’t do anything for us. We are the body of Christ, we are the church and we get to do this. Do you know that by being portable, we get to save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year that we get to reinvest into mission? This is a great thing that you get to do. We were designed to serve, to serve the church, to serve people, to build each other up, and this is a fantastic way to do that.”

You get to build things up in such a fantastic way and show people the exciting thing about being portable. Just that little tweak in your language can change a lot. Kevin has been doing it for 22 years, and he still loves it!

To hear more about Kevin’s experience, you can always reach out to him at kevin@portablechurch.com. And for more info on Team Structure make sure to check out our eBook.