How To Build A Volunteer Communications Team | David Thorne

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Dr. David Thorne is a missional marketing coach and today he discusses how to build a volunteer communications team at your church

Podcast Transcription


David-Thorne-Podcast.mp4 – CO
Jason Hamrock: [00:00:00] Record. We have a hard stop.

Bart Blair: [00:00:04] That is a good question. I do not do you.

Jason Hamrock: [00:00:10] I have like an hour from now.

Bart Blair: [00:00:11] But that’s right, David. You have a hard stop.

David Thorne: [00:00:15] I do not.

Bart Blair: [00:00:16] Ok. All right. We don’t want to really probably go more than thirty-five or 40 minutes anyway. So we’ll keep that to that. All right. Here we go in three two.

Bart Blair: [00:00:27] David Thorne, thanks so much for joining Jason and me on the Missional Marketing Podcast. Glad to have you today.

David Thorne: [00:00:34] Yeah, glad to be here.

Bart Blair: [00:00:35] Ok. You are one of these awesome people that we get to call a teammate here at Missional Marketing, and we’ve spent a lot of time on Zoom calls together talking about a lot of different things, you’re a super creative, guy. You have really helped our team over the last few years grow to the size that we are, to be able to help the volume of churches that we do, and even a lot of different ways that we’re helping churches today, that we weren’t helping churches a few years ago. One of the things that we’ve stepped into, really in the last year, is helping churches build and develop strong communications systems, communications teams, we’re doing a lot of virtual communications direction for churches. And one of the things that Jason and I recently realized is that, you know, not every church is going to be in a position to be able to hire Missional Marketing to be their communications team, nor does every church have the ability to hire three, four, or five people on their communications staff. And we said we know we should really help churches figure out how to build volunteer communications teams. And then I said, Hey, we’ve got this guy on our team who’s like an expert in volunteerism, he’s got a Ph.D. in this stuff, so maybe David can help us. So that’s why I asked you to be on the show with us today.

Bart Blair: [00:01:45] Before we start grilling you, I have a few things that I wanted to kind of highlight regarding volunteer teams, particularly communications teams in churches. And I think some of these principles, or some of these challenges that I want to highlight, really cross the boundaries of communications teams, and they might be a problem with building any volunteer team in church, but I’ll start with this.

Bart Blair: [00:02:10] The first thing is, one of the reasons that I think it’s hard for communications directors or church leaders to build a volunteer communications team is because they don’t know who to ask, they’re not really sure who in their church would be a good part of their communications team.

Bart Blair: [00:02:26] And part of the reason they don’t know who would be a good person to ask is, which comes to the second problem, is that because they really don’t know what they’re asking people to do. They don’t have a clear game plan for what they’re trying to accomplish with their communications team, and since they don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish, they don’t really know what the team players are supposed to be.

Bart Blair: [00:02:45] Our friend Jason here played college football. Northern Iowa, is that where you played college football?

Jason Hamrock: [00:02:50] Yeah

Bart Blair: [00:02:50] Northern Iowa, Ok, so if Northern Iowa had just recruited Jason to be a student-athlete, but didn’t tell him what team he was going to be on, or what position he was supposed to play, he probably wouldn’t have said yes because they might have put him on like the women’s hockey team or something, and that would have just been a wrong fit. But telling him that he was going to be a wide receiver, is that the position you played, wide receiver?

Jason Hamrock: [00:03:13] No, running back.

Bart Blair: [00:03:14] Running back, wide receiver, or whatever, the guy that takes the ball. They put him on the field and he knew what his objective was, right, score touchdowns and score more than the other team and then our team wins. And so, you know, in order to know what you’re recruiting to, you have to know what your objectives are.

Bart Blair: [00:03:31] The third thing I think that makes it difficult for church leaders to build a volunteer coms team is that they’re simply afraid that people won’t be able to do what they do as well as they do it. And I will raise my hand and say that, as a church leader, has probably been one of my biggest sins as it relates to empowering people in my church, others won’t be able to do it as well as I do.

Bart Blair: [00:03:54] The fourth thing that I think keeps people from building good volunteer communications teams is that the church leaders are simply afraid to ask, they’re afraid to ask people to volunteer. And I heard our friend Gavin Adams say something to this effect, he said, when you fail to ask people to volunteer to be on your team, you may be preventing them from stepping into a God-given appointment and a God-given calling. What’s the worst thing that can happen? The worst thing that can happen is to say no. The best thing that can happen is that they’re stepping into something that God is actually designed them to do, and they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do it if you didn’t ask. And so I was thinking about that this morning as we were preparing for this conversation, and I said I wanted to kind of say, these are things that I see as being a problem. And now, we’re going to ask David, Dr. David Thorne, to help us solve all of these problems, ok? All right, Jason, I’m going to stop talking and let you lead our conversation with David.

Jason Hamrock: [00:04:56] Well, unpack some of that, David. I mean, Bart threw out four ideas there. What are your responses? Do you see something different from that?

David Thorne: [00:05:06] Yeah, oh, I definitely wholeheartedly agree with those things, I think those are very common. And I think even going back to something that Bart said it is, I even think we have to back up even one step further and start with the vision behind it. And that’s where one thing I just love about volunteer teams is, I love when I remember when I first read in the Bible about the idea of the body of Christ, everyone has a role to play. And to me, I think we need to take that very seriously, kind of what Bart was saying, that everyone has a role to play. And if we don’t ask people, to me, it’s kind of like you mentioned, you playing football, it’s like if you were the running back and you didn’t have an offensive line, you didn’t have a quarterback, and you said, I’m going to, by myself, win this game, and that’s not going to work. If you hand the ball off, you’re going to be murdered by eight-foot-tall men who are going to just destroy you. So in my mind, I think it starts with having a vision of even, my job is to empower people to fulfill their God-given roles in the Kingdom of God, and even taking that one step further, what I think is, I think my role when it comes to a church staff is to work myself out of a job. To take what I know, pass it on to others, who are able to pass it on to others. I think that’s how the church is supposed to work, and I think if we start with that vision, my job is to work myself out of a job and the hand what I can do, pass it on to people who may be more talented than me at doing some of the things I can do, I think that is a great starting point. Before we even get to the starting line of the questions that Bart asked of who do we ask, how do we ask, and some of those kinds of things?

Jason Hamrock: [00:07:01] Well, so as a former communication director, I was asked all the time, to engage our servant leaders, build a team, hand it off. And I remember going, how? I’m not equipped to do that, I can go recruit some people, but there’s a lot of fear, or you’re sort of timid because of the things you said. they’re not going to do it as well, you know, they’re not sold out, they check out. Is that why you think, and I’ll talk about communications, but really, you could stick any ministry in that spot, is that why people are afraid to recruit and lean on more volunteers?

David Thorne: [00:07:46] I do, and actually, I would add-in, and I think this is important to make a note of, I think very few people have ever been taught how to lead a volunteer team. When I went to seminary, I was never taught one thing about leading and training and recruiting and leading and managing a volunteer team. So that’s literally what we have is we have people in our church with maybe a business background, or marketing background. And I think about that, it’s almost like, imagine if you ask a marketing director to go into a kindergarten class and they come in to talk about last session grades with a 30 point PowerPoint wearing high heels and their fancy clothes, it’s not going to work because the context is different. And I think that’s where it’s partially the communications directors acknowledging, you know what? I’ve never even been taught how to do this. That’s even a good place to start, to acknowledge.

Jason Hamrock: [00:08:46] Ok, so let’s go there. If you’re a communication director, or you know, a marketing director, or a social media director, let’s kind of keep it in the communications for now, and you wanted to create a volunteer team, how would you start? What would you recommend?

David Thorne: [00:09:01] Yes. Yeah. I would start with the vision of my job to work myself out of a job. I would then make a list of all of the things that I’m in charge of, and consider them. those are my teams. And then once you have that, you can start thinking about what are the roles that you might need to fill on those teams. And just to be more specific, I would say, when you make that list of teams and the stuff you do, you’re very likely going to get overwhelmed. So I would say, start with one team, choose a team that you are going to start developing into a volunteer team. Then you start thinking about, well, what are some roles that I could have people play? And this is one thing I want to mention on that point is, you need to be creative. I think sometimes we get stuck in this mindset of, I need people to do slides on Sunday morning, a slide person, and we get stuck, we need the Sunday morning just role to fulfill. But, there are so many things that people can do. Like, for example, I think every single volunteer team needs a scheduler, an editor, or maybe a research problem solver, somebody that just shows up and just solved problems for you, that kind of stuff.

David Thorne: [00:10:23] And I just mentioned those as examples, and I’ll give you an example from my life. I was at a church and the lead pastor was working on an upcoming sermon series that we’re talking about comic books. I love comic books, and I love superheroes. and I happen to know some people in the church who also loved comic book stuff. So I got a group of about four of them, and we actually started meeting together for like four or five weeks ahead of the sermon and just talked about comic stuff. We came up with ideas, stories, storylines that could be interesting, facts about the superhero that the pastor may not know, that kind of stuff, and that group of people actually turned into a bit of a sermon research type of team. And that’s where I just want to mention that part of it, that it is important to be creative when you come up with roles. You guys probably have some ideas about that too, when it comes to being creative about roles.

Bart Blair: [00:11:28] You know, I was actually thinking about our team here at Mission Marketing, which is not a volunteer team, like we’re a paid staff, we’re a paid staff together. But a hire on our team, that Jason made recently, made me think about something as it relates to volunteer teams and churches. And you kind of hit on this a little bit, for the last two or three years, Jason’s been going, we need more coaches on our team, people who can interface with the churches, people who can help communications directors, and our team has grown and we’ve added more and more coaches who help churches get better at what they’re doing. And then earlier this year, or I guess late last year, Jason brought a gal onto our team who isn’t a coach, but someone who helps manage the coaches. Her name is Shana, and Shana is a wizard at a platform called Asana. And since Shana has come on our team and has started helping us manage tasks, our productivity level has gone through the roof, our ability to get things done without forgetting things or skipping steps has been amplified, and we’re better able to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish. And so one of the things we were actually talking about the other day was, OK, can we utilize Shana and her gifts to actually help churches learn how to use Asana, which is a project management tool? And I was thinking about this, this morning, I’m like, you know, you’re right David, not only does every team need a scheduler, an editor, a researcher, or a problem solver, I think most communications directors think, well, I need somebody who knows how to do social media, I need somebody who knows how to take photos, I need somebody who knows how to manage YouTube, I need somebody who knows how to do these things. You actually need somebody who knows how to operate a spreadsheet, and somebody who knows how to organize a tool like Asana or Basecamp or some kind of, you know, productivity tool, because that will help all the other volunteers that you’re bringing on to your team. And so it doesn’t necessarily fit the the the prototypical, hey, this is the kind of person we want on the communications team, but having that type of person, a researcher, I never thought about having a researcher on my communications team, but that would be really cool. That’s my thought, that’s my response to that.

Jason Hamrock: [00:13:48] Yeah, and I think a word that I try to use in all my different jobs in my career is delegation, delegation, delegation. And if you tell somebody, I need you to go, do this and this and this, that’s OK, you’re directing them. But I kind of prefer to say, hey, you own this, go figure it out, I’m delegating it to you. You give them, you empower them, to go ahead and do what they think is best. And you have to step aside and go, could I have done it better? Maybe, maybe not, that’s not the point, though. The point is I was able to hand that off, as a leader, hand it off and let them lead. And I think that’s important for churches, when we’re engaging with servant leaders, is to delegate and hand it off, that’s a pretty important role in all of this. So, David, if I’m out there recruiting, what are some tips on how to find people who are talented, who want to do this, and step into this in this role of volunteer, what are some tips?

David Thorne: [00:14:55] Yeah, I would think there are two ways to go about doing this, and I think about starting slow and steady, or kind of you could start fast. So if you’re going to try to start fast, what I would say is set a meeting, an interest meeting, put a date on the calendar, and then you need to personally invite people to that meeting. And your church, of course, could put a big invite, but don’t count on that, you count on individually inviting people to that meeting. That’s the fast way, if you want to start slow and steady, then you just come up with your list of places that you’re interested in people filling the roles on your team, and you just slowly start inviting people to fill those roles one at a time. Both are very valid.

David Thorne: [00:15:39] Now, when it comes to just like tips on the recruiting piece, it starts with how you think about volunteering because if I assume that nobody wants to volunteer and they look away from me when they see me coming, then I am going to ask them with that mindset. And it’s like, hey, I need you to do me a favor, I know you hate this and I am so sorry. Or you’re going to the pull God card and say, is God calling you? And you’re like blaming it on God, like putting it in God’s hands, to let God ask them, I don’t think that’s good, either. Here’s the truth, every person in the body of Christ is called to volunteer, so they don’t need to wait for God’s calling to volunteer, they’re called to volunteer already, they’re called to use their gifts.

David Thorne: [00:16:35] And here’s the thing I would say, speaking of sports, how many kids grew up and you’re watching like a sports team and in the back of your mind, you have that little just dream of what if like everybody went down and they look to the stands and they said, could somebody just jump in and play quarterback on the last play of their final game that’s tied. And you have that little like dream, and that’s how I think that we need to remember that people are on the sidelines of the church hoping that they get to jump in and play a role. Like they hope that they can make a difference in the Kingdom of God somehow, they have no idea how, and they’re probably praying, I wish I would know what to do. And they need you to ask them with the motive of God’s kingdom is doing amazing things, I want to give you an opportunity to jump in the game, and I believe you have a role to play in God’s kingdom. That’s an honoring way to ask somebody, and I think that the way you ask really matters.

Jason Hamrock: [00:17:53] I’ll piggyback on that, I think that the biggest problem, let’s just face it, people, in ministry, is we’re super busy. And we just get piled on, work, you know, just project after project, it doesn’t matter who’s listening to this podcast, you’re as guilty as I am, we get busy. And, you know, Sunday is coming every seven days, and you’ve got all these events going on in ministries, and I just think it’s our fault that we get so busy and we don’t have margin in our life. And the reason why I’m saying that is because I think when it comes to volunteers, this is just my opinion, you should be delegating or spending at least a third of your time working and serving your volunteers.

Jason Hamrock: [00:18:43] Let me give you an example. A church I know, in working with the children’s ministry, they were so focused on the actual programming that was going on, they hardly ever spent any time on the volunteers who showed up to take care of the kids every single week. So when there was a shortage of volunteers, they struggled. Well, no wonder you’re pouring all your energy and effort into the programming, and you’re not leaving any juice left for your volunteers, and I think that’s out of balance, right? And so I think, I would like to hear your opinion, David, but I think you want to make a conscious decision to really carve out a big portion of your week to work with and on your volunteers. Is that is that an accurate statement?

David Thorne: [00:19:33] Oh, definitely, I had a big whiteboard in my office, and I had all of my volunteer teams listed on that whiteboard. And every Monday, that’s how I oriented my week because I thought, where are my teams? Who am I talking to? Where are the holes? Who am I developing? How am I pouring into those teams? Where is that team emotionally? How are they feeling? How are they doing? What’s next, what’s needed next? But that is where I started my week, is thinking about those teams.

Jason Hamrock: [00:20:10] Wow. Ok.

Bart Blair: [00:20:12] You said something earlier, Jason, that I want David to respond to. And that is, you know, you were talking about delegation or empowering people as volunteers, I addressed this at the opening of this, David has mentioned it a couple of times as well. I mean, here’s the reality, you’re on staff, you’ve been hired by the church because you’re really good at what you do. And your level of expertise and your level of excellence is, you know, it’s something that you’re proud of, right? You do things well, which is why you’ve been asked to do it, and then you talk about delegating or empowering volunteers and other people on your team. How Jason, how did you, while you were a communications director, and David, how do you would you counsel someone who’s trying to build a volunteer team? How do you counsel us to be able to accept the fact that the people that we’re going to bring on to our teams are probably not, at least initially, going to be able to do things at a standard that we would like them to be done in, right? There’s going to be, even if their skill level or their talent level might be better than ours, their learning curve to do it the way that we want it done can be steep sometimes. I’ll let, David, I want you to answer first. And then, Jason, I want you to talk about maybe some experience that you had in doing that. How do you bring people on the team? Because I really think this is a fear for a lot of people, is that if I give somebody the ability to run the social media account, or to write the weekly newsletter, or design graphics for the sermon series, it’s just not going to get done as well as I need to get it done.

David Thorne: [00:21:51] I feel that the starting point is being aware that people have a certain level of interest and ability, and interest can grow and ability can grow, but you want to make sure that what you give people aligns with their interest and ability. And so what I always say when it comes to delegation, is it’s very important to start very small and give yourself an out. So that’s saying, a person came to a new visitor’s class, a new visitors group that you have at the church, and you see they’re not serving on any team. So you call them, or you stop them on Sunday, you meet them, and you say, hey, I have this document that needs editing, are you the kind of person that likes details and would be interested in just taking a look at it? And they say, sure. You say cool, you know, just an extra look could be helpful. And then you find out how do they respond to that task. And then afterward you say, did you enjoy that, was that good, and you can kind of go from there. But I think it’s important that you start small, simple types of things, and just see how people do. And then as they succeed, their interest and ability might grow, and then you can increase their responsibility to align with their interests and ability.

Jason Hamrock: [00:23:17] Yeah, I totally agree with that, one hundred percent. I’d probably also add, do they have the time? Like I remember when I was on staff at my church we had an amazing proofreader, like he was a proofreader for education books, super talented, like, never missed anything. And so we ran all of our stuff through him, but we had to learn that he wanted to do it, he was passionate about it, he was good at it, pretty important, and he had the time. And we revolved around his time, not the other way, to the point where everything revolved around his availability, like when the sermon notes got in, or when we would, you know, get the slides. We all revolved around his time because he was so gifted and amazing, and we just elevated him. And that was a huge win for our team, I have a whole bunch of other losses.

Jason Hamrock: [00:24:20] Because I had marketing teams, and we had all kinds of different teams that we tried to put together, and it didn’t work. And I think the main reason it didn’t work, is because we didn’t allocate enough time, we didn’t put it into our culture that this is a high value, that’s the first. They were important, but not that important, at least with my department. I didn’t put that as a cultural thing, like volunteers are incredible. We didn’t carve out the time, we didn’t spend the time that David just mentioned on, you know, put together a plan. Like you’re not going to run out of the field and go, does anybody got an idea for a play? You don’t do that, you walk out going, this is the play we’re running, right? And I think some of the times it’s, you want to actually recruit people to help you formulate the offense, you want to actually delegate to them to help build the offense.

Jason Hamrock: [00:25:12] So if I’m thinking about this, I’m thinking about these days, you know, there’s a lot of people in your congregation who use social media, right? You could be recruiting a volunteer team to help you with social media. There’s a lot of trust in that, right? You don’t just turn it over and go, all right, you guys start posting, that would be a big mistake. And as David said, you want to start small, a small task I think, and lead up to it. But if you got the right team to help you with social media, there are all kinds of creative things you could do. And you know social media is all about engagement, if you get a team to help you with engagement, you’re on to something. And there are a lot of churches that I work with, that they have taken that route, they’ve recruited twenty twenty-five people to be a part of their social media initiative and strategy. I think that’s brilliant, why would you put it on one person, have that one person have a team of 20 behind them that own social media. Just as an example.

Bart Blair: [00:26:13] Oh, you said something that was really big, really important, that we need to lean into momentarily. And that is, you said, have other people be a part of planning the play or developing the play? And I will say this, as a leader, you can develop the game plan, and then you can recruit a team to execute the game plan. And you might be able to do well, and you might get some people that will have buy-in and be enthusiastic and execute well. But if you bring people in and actually invite them into the planning, and the preparation, and the game-planning process, they have a higher level of buy-in, which will actually sustain them longer in doing what you’re all trying to do, right? That’s the one thing I think, as staff members, we always worry about burning out our volunteers, giving them too much. But when they have ownership, and they’ve helped create the game plan, they are more likely to follow through and be able to be extended in their commitment to do that. So you said that Jason, and then you kind of blew right by, and I was like, ooh, that was a good nugget, so I wanted to make sure we hit on that a little bit.

Jason Hamrock: [00:27:25] Dig a little deeper there, you guys know this because I always say this at our team meetings, I repeat stuff a lot, repeatables. So you not only want to do what David was saying, you got to lift them up, pray for them, you know, be a part of their lives, right? That’s just, as Christians, that’s what we do. But if you really want to have them stay on course, you’ve got to repeat the game plan. So they came up with a game plan, your job week in and week out is are we on task? Are you doing this? Are you doing that? Repeating yourself, because if you want to get to there, you’re not going to wander into what you want to have happen, you have to drive it there. And that’s really what anything, your staff, but your volunteers as well, you’ve got to repeat what you expect to have happen, and you’ll get there, you’ll get there.

Bart Blair: [00:28:16] David, what are some mistakes or pitfalls that you might see leaders doing when they’re building and cultivating a volunteer team?

David Thorne: [00:28:30] Yeah, I think one thing we’ve already talked about when it comes to delegation, they think, great, you’re all here, boom, here’s the thing, go do it, and that doesn’t happen. Because it’s too much too fast, it’s like asking to marry somebody on a first date, I think that’s generally not an ideal option or thing to do. So I do think that the delegation issue is a mistake. I think what I have already mentioned is, the motive, the way in which you ask people to volunteer is a huge mistake of just hoping that a Sunday morning announcement is going to do the trick, it won’t. The more personal the invite, the more successful the ask.

Bart Blair: [00:29:17] Hey, double click on that for a second, because you gave us some notes before we started and I read through them and we’ve really completely thrown them out the window in this conversation, so I appreciate you hanging with us here. But one of the notes that you did talk about was, when you have a team and you’re meeting with that team, you want to make sure that you’re including that team in prospecting other people in the church who could also be a part of that team. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

David Thorne: [00:29:47] Yeah. So there’s a term called volunteerability, and who is the most likely to volunteer for your team? And this is actually a huge concept, it’s actually a very new term in the volunteer research world. But here’s the idea, and this is why it matters to church communication directors, you want to think about who is most likely to say yes to an ask. And the closer that a person is to your team, or someone on your team, or the more impacted they are by your team, the more likely they are to say yes. As an example, if you ask a random person on the street to volunteer for your team, they’re most likely going to say no because they are not impacted by your team, nor do they have any connection to your team. So for communications, if that your thing, friends of people on your team are very likely to say yes to helping out their friend for your team. So use the people on your team to encourage them, say, who do you know that you could invite to join this amazing team that we have?

David Thorne: [00:30:58] A second way that you can think about that is, who is positively impacted by your team? If you need somebody to help with anything related to Sunday morning worship, sound, tech stuff, go stand out and just watch people worship and find out who is most impacted and just loves worship. Those people who are most impacted by what you do, are going to be more likely to say yes to helping out on your team. So, yeah, the idea of volunteerability.

Jason Hamrock: [00:31:32] That’s really good.

Bart Blair: [00:31:33] I don’t know how many children’s ministry directors we have who will ever listen to this podcast. But if you’re a senior pastor or you’re an executive pastor and your children’s ministry director or pastor is coming to you saying, I don’t have enough volunteers, the advice that Dr. David just gave was worth gold. Who are the people most impacted by your ministry? It’s the parents of the kids who are in that children’s ministry. That’s why he’s Dr. David, and we appreciate that.

Jason Hamrock: [00:32:06] I’d go back and say, hey, lead pastor, go ask your children’s pastor, how much time are you dedicating towards recruiting new volunteers? Honestly, because if you’re not putting much time into it, that’s the fruit you’re going to bear.

Bart Blair: [00:32:18] But Pastor, you were supposed to make an announcement from the platform, and I was supposed to get all my volunteers.

Jason Hamrock: [00:32:24] It’s the other way around.

David Thorne: [00:32:26] I think about it as like fishing ponds, and you’re going to catch fish in some ponds and some you’re not. And that’s where you’re saying, the two ways, people that are most connected to you or connected to people on your team, or people who are most impacted by your ministry, those are ponds. Or people who have an interest in your area. So, for example, there could be some older people in a church’s congregation, speaking of kids, who may have an interest and they miss holding babies. So they may not be connected directly, and they may not be impacted by, but they do have a high interest in that area. So that kind of gives you, what are some fishing ponds where I need to fish? And then you need the fish as directly as possible, your pole, you throw the line in the water, and do not rely on an announcement.

Bart Blair: [00:33:25] I have one more question, then we have to wrap up here, we could do this all day, but I have one more question. You didn’t really address this in your notes, and maybe you’ve thought about this, and maybe you haven’t. But I know that this is something that a lot of church leaders wrestle with, and that is asking people who are professionals in a specific skill to actually volunteer their services to do that in the church. So you’ve got somebody in your church who’s a professional web developer, and that person would be a real gift to your communications team, is it appropriate, how comfortable should I be, in asking that person to actually volunteer their time for my church? I attend a church that’s a very large church, we have professional musicians that play in our worship band. And most of the musicians that play in the worship band, whether you think this is a good idea or not, they’re compensated for being in the worship band. There’s a variety of reasons why our church is chosen to do that, and I know that’s a point of contention for a lot of churches. But I’m thinking about, you know, people who might be a professional photographer, or a professional web developer, or professional social media person, or professional writer and editor, how do we navigate that landscape? What do you see as being appropriate for us, in the church, as it relates to asking professionals to volunteer?

David Thorne: [00:34:53] Research kind of shows that it basically goes either way, where individuals either viewed their volunteer role as a place to express what they are already talented in, or as an escape from the thing that they are talented in. So I think it’s just being aware that it really can go either way, if you have somebody who leads all week long, they might want to come to church on Sunday and mop floors because it’s the opposite, it’s a relaxing way for them to serve that’s not what they do. I think just understanding that it can go either way and you really just, you may lead with, can you use the thing that you are really good at? And if they say, no, then it’s not a problem, it’s almost giving them the freedom to understand that that’s normal, and you may not want to do that thing. Like you teach kids all week, so hanging with kids on Sunday may be the last thing you want to do? That makes sense.

Bart Blair: [00:35:57] Well, David, this has been a really great conversation, and we appreciate you taking your time to do this. You’ve got a lot on your plate these days, and this has been a really cool conversation. Before we go, I want to ask you one last question. I said that the last question was going to be the last question, but here’s the last question, is there anything that you wished we’d asked you that we didn’t ask? Anything that you wanted to kind of hit on, or just encouragement that you wanted to share with communications directors or pastors in churches that we didn’t ask you about?

David Thorne: [00:36:25] Yeah. The one thing I want to encourage communication directors with is this, research shows that more and more, volunteers really want to value their flexibility, they’re looking for one-off or short-term types of roles, and they’re looking for more virtual roles. And the reason that’s an encouragement, is because communications teams that you oversee are perfect for this, you have tons of things that you need done that can be flexible, can be done online, can be done at home, can be done in a short term. So just to understand that you and the teams that you oversee are perfectly aligned with the growing research about what volunteers are looking to do. And the only other thing I want to mention is, and this could be a future conversation we have, but once you have a team, I want to challenge you to not just maintain your team but to lead them. And that again, we can talk about that at some other time, what is the difference between just maintaining a team and leading a team? But once you have it, my send-off challenge is, don’t just maintain the teams you have, lead them.

Jason Hamrock: [00:37:44] Wow. Ok, I think we have to do another podcast on that, on the difference between those two, for sure. I think a lot of church staff would be wondering, how do I lead them? I can hardly lead myself.

Bart Blair: [00:37:57] Yeah, a lot of it comes down to the fact that a lot of communications professionals were not hired to lead, they were hired to execute. I was hired to make sure that the people in the church know what’s going on, when they need to be where, and what’s happening. But I wasn’t actually hired to, and I might not be equipped to, actually lead the team that I’m now responsible for leading. So another opportunity for a great conversation. David Thorne, thanks so much for hanging out with us today. If somebody who’s listening wanted to get in touch with you, your email address is D Thorne, is that correct?

David Thorne: [00:38:31] D Thorne with an e.

Bart Blair: [00:38:34] Dthorn, thorn with an E, I’m sure that David would be happy to answer any questions that you might have as it relates to building a volunteer team for communications at your church. Thanks, guys.

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