In the process of creating Volunteer Rocket, we talked to seven churches who were doing a great job gaining, training and retaining volunteers.  Here’s a profile of Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana.

Mark and Sheila Beeson started Granger in their living room with five people in 1986. Today, Granger Community Church has thousands of attendees at three campuses in Granger, Elkhart, and LaPorte

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In recruiting volunteers, what does Granger do better than most?

They give away leadership. Their staff doesn’t do all the work of the ministry – they lead people to accomplish the mission. Granger lets leaders lead.

From the early years of Granger, Pastor Mark led the charge to give away leadership.  He didn’t want a church where a few superheroes performed all the ministerial duties.

How do you become a volunteer at Granger?

You could attend a VolunTOUR, a behind-the-scenes look at a number of serving opportunities.  These orientation events happen right after weekend worship services several times a year, they are a simple next step and easy to attend.  Instead of a talking head, they show people what serving looks like.

You could also visit their website to learn about hot volunteer opportunities.

But most people step into serving because they were simply invited by a friend.  Granger excels at teaching their volunteers to tap shoulders with others.   Shoulder-tapping is the number one way people connect with volunteer teams at Granger.  This fits perfectly with Granger’s philosophy to give away leadership.  Leaders know one of their most important roles is to find people to serve with them.

Behind the Scenes

Mark Waltz is the Pastor of Connections and MultiSite.  He’s also the author of First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences in Your Church and How to Wow Your Church Guests: 101 Ways to Make a Meaningful First Impression.

 Mark-Waltz

In a recent conversation, Mark shared a little more about what makes the Volunteer Ministry at Granger tick.

  • The staff culture sets the tone for the volunteer culture at Granger.  If your staff truly sees themselves as equippers, they will model a healthy leadership culture.  “A bunch of doers on your staff are sometimes not even capable of leadership development,” Mark said.
  • Training and systems are decentralized as much as possible at Granger.  While the church creates training tools, they give them to volunteer leaders to use with their teams.
  • Granger moves people who show interest in serving into trial or short-term opportunities.
  • Decentralized doesn’t mean disorganized.  Healthy systems and processes should make it easier for people to use their leadership gifts, not harder.
  • “Mark founded the church with the value of leadership development and his philosophy is to keep giving ministry away,” says Mark.  It takes time to develop volunteers, because they don’t think about the church as much as staff members do.  Be patient with people.
  • “There are few churches in America who wouldn’t put together a written job summary for someone they employ, but there’s often nothing defined for volunteers.  Put expectations on paper,” Mark said.

Granger Community Church is just one of the churches we profiled for Volunteer Rocket. The core coaching program is a simple, step-by-step process your church can implement to gain, train and retain volunteers. It’s a how-to and done-for-you system. If you’d like to be a beta tester or want more information, fill out the form below.

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