What Unifies Volunteers with a Vision—and One Another

At Feed the Need Missions, we often emphasize the importance of our mission, vision and values. But simply sharing the information with our team does not build personal buy-in of these things from team members. How do leaders cultivate this? Here are a few things that we find strengthen missional mindset and team atmosphere for us.

The Mobilizing Power of Relational Credibility

Recently, our LBA site was facing a challenge. Jack, our staffer and site coordinator, who also serves as a senior pastor at a local church, was going to be out for a week for vacation Bible school. This meant he would not be able to lead in his typical capacity. Looking to cover his area, he reached out to several volunteers at various site locations.

The response was pretty incredible —14 people stepped up, and most of them were from other site location teams. This overwhelming response was a surprise because, not only is it a very hot time of year, but also many of these people had already served at a site location earlier in the week. So what made them so eager to help Jack and the LBA team?

Jack isn’t just a person who reaches out to people only when there is a need. In fact, he has such high capacity that he rarely asks for help. But he’s very involved with people. He helps at others sites. He focuses on building relationships. He takes time to see people, and serve them. The result is that people were equally ready to sacrificially reciprocate this posture in order to meet the need at LBA.

Taking time to build relational credibility is powerful. Often leaders make the mistake of thinking they need to flex their title or authority. And in a corporate setting that might be more appropriate. But with volunteers, that isn’t the answer. If you want the buy-in, put in the time and value the people for who they are, not just what they do.

The Unifying Power of Shared Values

The big evening came and the team gathered together, and it was a terrific success. They knew what to do because our training is consistent among all our sites. But this didn’t account for the an instant camaraderie, joy and unity they experienced in serving together. It was incredible to see people who weren’t familiar with each other come together and immediately have a rapport. The secret to how these individuals could blend so successfully as a team is our shared values.

Every week during our Table Talk discipleship time, we discuss our organization’s core values, as well as ways to demonstrate them at the site. Our Feed the Need Missions core values are:

  • Jesus
  • Servant Leadership
  • Consistency
  • Mercy
  • Simplicity
  • Stewardship

Because we consistently talk about what we value, and model what we value through action, we tend to draw people who are similarly passionate about these things. Knowing a job description is important, but mission and  core values reinforce why we do what we do and how we are to approach accomplishing our goals. A volunteer noted, “Even though we do things a little differently site to site, the heart and mindset is all the same, to share the love and hope of Jesus with guests but also with each other.”

The whole group enjoyed the experience immensely. Unity within the organization at large was discovered, and cultivated, through the experience of site members serving another site. One volunteer even shared, “It’s great to see the bigger family of Feed the Need Missions. What tonight showed me is that  if there is ever a need some place else, I want to help meet it for others within the family!”

The Contagious Power of Volunteer Buy-In

The impact of the experience was powerful for onlookers who were new to Feed the Need Missions as well. One of the Stony Point site volunteers brought a co-worker with her to check out the site for the first time. She commented about how familiar everyone seems with each other, even mentioning that the way these strangers interacted with one another made her want to get involved in the ministry. Leaning into relationship building and shared values, and the unity it enabled, created an attractive atmosphere that newcomers were eager to be part of. What powerful growth tools these are in building successful organizations!

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