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How to Determine if You Manage or Empower Your Volunteers

by Bob D’Ambrosio


Do you empower volunteers to serve in ministry? Or do you manage them? For many professionally trained leaders, the ministry model has been to recruit, place, and manage. And often the temptation is to over-manage because, well, you’re professionally trained—and commonly, volunteers are not.

A leader who equips volunteers empowers people to develop their gifting and find a ministry where they can serve. Emperor-style leaders see themselves as the primary ministry source and manage their volunteers in task-only roles.

So what is your style? Ask yourself how much the following statements describe you:

  • I realize my ministry is not about me or my success.
  • I lead by serving and supporting others.
  • I give authority to team members to make decisions in their individual areas of expertise.
  • I determine ministry placement of team members according to their unique design and gifting.
  • I could not be effective without other around me using their spiritual gifts and abilities.
  • I am more concerned about the multiplication of ministry than about my control over things.
  • I have a positive and proactive response to change.
  • When there is failure, I look at myself and take responsibility.
  • I regularly give feedback to those with whom I serve.
  • I confront issues that I know will be harmful to my team.

If most of these statements describe you, most of the time, then you are a leader who empowers people to serve.

If these statements don’t match your leadership style, you may be hovering too close to allow people to fully engage in ministry.

Identify areas in which you can empower more people in ministry, and make that your goal!

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How to Determine if You Manage or Emp...

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