Little affirms human dignity more than honest work. One of the surest ways to destroy self-worth is subsidizing the idleness of able-bodied people. Work is a gift, a calling, a human responsibility. And the creation of productive, meaningful employment fulfills one for the Creator’s highest designs. Because of that, it should be a central goal to our service.
Robert Lupton, Toxic Charity

One thing that changed drastically when I stopped leading A Day of Hope and turned over the reigns to the new team of leaders was that they changed “who” the volunteers were.

In my five years of leading A Day of Hope the primary volunteers I recruited were teenagers who had required community service hours, college students, and adults with kids. Those were the three groups I often sought out as potential volunteers to support our work in the community.

However, when Enclave Community Church began to lead A Day of Hope they enlisted the help of clients to serve as volunteers. This was a group of people which I never thought to or attempted to recruit as volunteers.

For several years Enclave had been running their weekly food program mostly through the work of volunteers, and most of those volunteers were clients in their program. The same people who were receiving a grocery bag of food every week were the same people who were going to the food bank to get the food, organizing it, preparing it to be given away, and then doing the cleanup work after the distribution of food.

Doing ministry with volunteers who are also the clients of the program looks different, but it can be done. In today’s post I show you how the clients of your nonprofit/church program can serve as volunteers.

Opportunities to volunteer must be expanded to all segments of the community—it is consistent with the concept of equal opportunity. Instead of being the privilege of the already privileged, volunteering must become the right of everyone: minorities, youth, seniors, the handicapped, blue-collar workers, business people, the disadvantaged. Remember—those who understand the culture and lifestyles of those you are trying to recruit make the best recruiters.
Marlene Wilson, The Effective Management of Volunteer Programs, p. 118

How the Clients of Your Nonprofit Can Serve as Volunteers

A great example of having clients serve as volunteers is a community garden where people in need of food can plant and grow their own food while learning life lessons of responsibility, patience, etc.

 Photo Credit: US Department of Agriculture

I. Your clients can do a great job of serving as volunteers because they know about:

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Recruiting, screening, and interviewing volunteers is vital for the success of most nonprofit programs and church ministries. Sometimes when recruiting volunteers it might be necessary to interview volunteers in order to discern where the volunteer would be most helpful. In today’s post I give you some tips on how to interview potential volunteers.

How to Interview Volunteers

Photo Credit: Hashoo Foundation

I. Formal interviews and screenings are not always necessary for an effective program.

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If you work for any type of church or nonprofit organization you know that recruiting volunteers to help with your ministry is difficult. People are busy, have limited time, and often already have commitments to other organizations besides yours. In this post I will show how you can recruit more volunteers by casting wide and deep in your volunteer recruitment efforts. Credit: Justin Norman

I. 2 Elements of Wide and Shallow Volunteer Recruitment

Opportunities to volunteer must be expanded to all segments of the community—it is consistent with the concept of equal opportunity. Instead of being the privilege of the already privileged, volunteering must become the right of everyone: minorities, youth, seniors, the handicapped, blue collar workers, business people, the disadvantaged. Remember—those who understand the culture and lifestyles of those you are trying to recruit make the best recruiters.
Marlene Wilson, The Effective Management of Volunteer Programs, p. 118

A. What You Ask For:

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Books I Read in 2014

December 29, 2014 — Leave a comment

Here’s a quick list of some of the books I read in 2014. Books I highly recommend are linked to within my blog or on Amazon.

The Bible

Leadership Books

Charting a Bold Course: Training Leaders for 21st Century Ministry
Andrew Seidel

The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know
James M. Kouzes and Barry Posner

Leadership Next: Changing Leaders in a Changing Culture
Eddie Gibbs

Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer
J. Oswald Sanders

Building Leaders: Blueprints for Developing Leadership at Every Level of Your Church
Aubrey Malphurs and Will Mancini

Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
Reggie McNeal

Look Before You Lead: How to Discern and Shape Your Church Culture
Aubrey Malphurs

Books about the Bible

The Cambridge Introduction to Biblical Hebrew
Brian Webster

Basics of Biblical Greek (3rd edition)
William MounceReinventing Jesus: What The Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don’t Tell You
by J. Ed. Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel Wallace

Exploring the New Testament: A Gide to the Gospels & Acts
David Wenham and Steve Walton

An Introduction to the Old Testament: Historical Books
David M. Howard, Jr.

Expository Hermeneutics: An Introduction
Elliott Johnson

Books about God & Theology

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
D. A. Carson

The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation
Bruce Demarest

Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman’s Story
Mark Andrew Ritchie

Books about Volunteer Leadership & Management

The Volunteer Revolution: Unleading the Power of Everybody
Bill Hybells

Keep Those Volunteers Around: A Dozen Easy Tips to Excite, Inspire, & Retain Your Most Valuable Asset. . . Volunteers
Bill Wittich

The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer (2nd edition)
Jonathan and Thomas McKee

Christian Voluntarism: Theology & Praxis
William H. Brackney

The Volunteer Community: Creative Use of Human Resources (2nd edition)
Eva Schindler-Rainman and Ronald Lippitt

The Effective Management of Volunteer Programs
Marlene Wilson

Books about Teaching

Effective Bible Teaching
Jim Wilhoit and Leland Ryken

The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Teaching: A Comprehensive Resource on the Distincetiveness of True Christian Teaching
Edited by Kenneth Gangel and Howard Hendricks

Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive
Howard Hendricks

Creative Teaching Methods: Be an Effective Christian Teacher
Marlene LeFever

The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typeographic Principles for the Visual Novice (3rd edition)
Robin Williams

Miscellaneous Books

Ministry Greenhouse: Cultivating Enviornments for Practical Learning
George Hillman, Jr.

The Hole in Our Gospel: The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World
Richard Stearns

Many Hands, Many Miracles: Building A Social Service Agency That Works
Father Dan Madigan and Ann Bancroft

The Return of the Prodigal Sun
Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Search for Significance
Robert McGee

Question: What books did you read in 2014 and what do you recommend others should read?

Vision seems to be a popular word for good reason. Vision is what excites people and attracts them to nonprofits, companies, and churches. In this post I show how you can use vision (or mission) to recruit volunteers for your nonprofit program.

How to Use Vision to Recruit Volunteers

Photo Credit: Senior Living

I. What is vision?

A. Definition

It is a picture of what your organization (or individual program) hopes to create in the near future. Continue Reading…

This summer I did some extensive research about how nonprofit organizations can best recruit, lead, and keep volunteers.

 Reasons Nonprofits Have Trouble Recruiting VolunteersPhoto Credit: Steve Depolo

My research led me to discover that there are six common reasons that nonprofits have trouble recruiting volunteers.

Too many willing-hearted volunteers have been wounded “on the job.” They’ve responded to an invitation to serve, only to end up in a volunteer position that was poorly conceived, resulting in tasks that few people would find fulfilling. Or they show up to serve and discover they have nothing to do; an underprepared volunteer coordinator has wasted their time, causing them to lose precious hours they had willingly carved out from their busy schedule. Some work hard on menial tasks without ever hearing how their efforts serve a grander cause; they’re given plenty of work, but no vision. Others have felt overwhelmed by unreasonable demands for which they’ve not received proper training; rather than being set up to win, they get put on the express lane to frustration and failure. Many have been hurt when a coercive leader drafted them to “fill a slot” without considering their gifts or talents or what they love to do. Some have given hours—maybe even years—in volunteer service to an organization or church, without receiving a single thanks.
Bill Hybels, The Volunteer Revolution, p. 25

1. Lack of training for staff working with volunteers

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While preparing an outline, workbook, and PowerPoint slides for a workshop this month for the Center for Nonprofit Management I have been reminded about the four things I know about effective teaching.

3 Things I Know About Effective Teaching

Photo Credit: Learning Executive

1. A teacher’s methods of teaching are only as good as his preparation.

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Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman’s Story. By Mark Andrew Ritchie. Island Lake, IL: Island Lake Press, 2000. 288 pp.

Mark Andrew Ritchie group up in poverty in Afghanistan, South Texas, and Oregon. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity International University (1980). In addition to Spirit of the Rainforest he is the author of God in the Pits. After 20 years of working in the financial services industry, Ritchie turned his attention to Divinity studies and authoring two books.

Book Review of Spirit of the Rainforest

Written in first person narrative, Spirit of the Rainforest describes the life of the Yanomamo people according to a powerful shaman called “Jungleman.” It should be noted that the Yanomamo people do not use names. In the beginning of the book Jungleman says, “I have lots of names—all us Yanomamo do. But we almost never speak them” (p. 21). The book focuses on telling the story of approximately 32 years of life in the Amazon from the way they lived before the “nabas” arrived and told them of the great spirit, “Yai-Pada.” Perhaps the book is best described by Richie’s own words in the author’s addendum, “Dignity prohibits a complete description of Jungleman’s talent. Deleewa, a person of considerable humility and piety, struggled in vain to translate Jungleman into palatable English while I asked myself, ‘How am I going to write this? No matter how much I tone this man down, I still can hear the critics: “Too much sex—too much violence—too degrading of women”” (p. 239). This book is a gripping account of the wild life in the Amazon. Continue Reading…

One of the most fruitful things I do is read the entire Bible every year. In this post I share with you four ways you can read the entire Bible in a year as well as which method I prefer.

4 Ways to Read the Bible in a Year

Photo Credit: Steve Spinks

4 Ways to Read the Bible in a Year

1. 4 Chapters a Day

Reading four chapters a day as a way to read through the Bible in a year was the original “challenge” from Dr. Jeff Harrington while I was a student at Fresno Pacific University working on my Christian Ministry & Leadership degree. In our Spiritual Formation class Dr. Harrington suggested that we have a regular schedule for reading through the Bible every year. His basic suggestion was that we read four chapters a day. Continue Reading…

There is something which exists inside of your church even if you do not realize it: culture. Everyday you and the other leaders inside of your church are creating a culture. Since culture always exists and is a necessary part of the work environment you and your employees spend 40 hours a week in, it is important that you understand culture and know how to change it.

3 Required and Important Stages for Discerning and Shaping a Church's Culture

This summer I read a fantastic book by Aubrey Malphurs titled, Look Before You Lead: How to Discern and Shape Your Church Culture. Malphurs’ main premise is that culture in the church is important because:

  • 80-85 percent of American churches are either plateaued or in decline
  • on a typical weekend only 17 percent of the population attend church
  • many of the young people growing up in church often leave church when going off to college (p. 111)

In his book, Malphurs outlines three stages of shaping a church’s culture. I’d like to outline those stages for you with my comments as a way to help you “discern and shape your church culture.”

3 Stages of Shaping a Church’s Culture

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