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Community Discussion: Getting Volunteers to Buy-Into Change

motivating staff

Encouraging all members of your team to partake in system changes requires effort from all parties. It takes dedication to maintain your staff’s motivation, but how do we make them feel just as invested as we are in the process of changing our communication ways in church?

Bethany Sundstrom Smith brought up an excellent question in our Church Communications Facebook group that started a discussion between our members. 

The Question: 

“Looking for some advice. I’m at a small church, and our newer pastors started a communications team (all volunteers). It’s great they see a need for working on communications, but in reality, no one on staff, including them, really wants to change any of the ways they do communications. How do I work with the staff to move the process from surface-level buy-in to actual buy-in and commitment to the communications team has traction?”

Responses:

“Depending on your role, you can try a few things. First, I think it helps to make small changes where you can and then let people see how it works. Sometimes they won’t believe it until they see it. I also share things I’m learning from books, blogs, research, etc. This can take time because they need to hear from me over and over again before it starts to sink in. Also, take time to listen to the volunteers, find out their strengths and gift sets, see if you can tap into the things they naturally get passionate about, and try to generate excitement about change in that area. Just some thoughts!!!” Nichole Perreault

“I’m a volunteer with a smaller church, too. Our staff doesn’t do any of the social media either, almost all of the social media comes through me. Basically, to get started, I first convinced them of the need for a church FB page. Then the next step was to start working on ministry team leaders and pastors to start funneling information my way so that I could share it on our website and FB. It’s grown from there.” Robin Robinson

“I would start by asking them how valuable their time is, and if they could spend more time focusing on ministry initiatives they are passionate about as well as engaging people in those initiatives in a clear way, would this be worth it to them? If so, I’d start to discuss maybe three lowest-hanging-fruit strategies, and how they will hit those goals. Then ask them if they’d consider trying it for three months to see if you’ve addressed key pain points in communication.” Brian Kaufman

“Getting buy-in starts with crafting solutions, not lamenting the way things are done or should be done. If your church has specific goals already in place, then I think it’s best practice to layout solutions that demonstrate how you will reach that goal. Change like you are describing is often a slow process, and has to be handled one project/goal at a time. Once leadership begins to see value in the solutions you are pitching (and once you have a couple of projects with good, measurable results), the change will start to happen.” Josh Jackson

Conclusion:

Keeping your staff involved through every change in operations, may it be big or small, can be difficult. As church communicators, we need to place value in the opinions and personal development of each of our members, making sure they are just as much as involved as we are in every step of the way.

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