4 Ways to Lead as a Volunteer

Carl Barnhill

If you’re a volunteer on the Media Production Team at your church, you know that your Church Media Director or Coordinator can’t do it all. And he shouldn’t. It takes many volunteers to execute an excellent worship experience. As a volunteer, it’s your responsibility to not just come push buttons and go home. It’s a true help to your staff team leader to help him lead without having an attitude of entitlement.

In his book, The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization, John Maxwell asks the question, Is it possible to lead well when you’re not the top dog? The answer is yes. You don’t have to be the ‘staff member’ or have the ‘position’ to lead. You can lead people no matter where you are on the team. Another good resource for learning how to lead no matter where you are on your team is the two-part episode from “The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast” entitled “How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge” (Episodes 12 and 13).


So how can you help your staff Media Director lead from within your Production Team?

Here are 4 practical ways you can lead as a volunteer on your team:

1. Be on time – everytime!

You should always arrive early before your scheduled start time. There may be things that need to be dealt with. Start or “call times” are when everything is running normal. When someone doesn’t show up or a piece of equipment is down, you need time to find replacements or make repairs.

2. Be one of the last volunteers to leave.

Don’t get up and leave as soon as service is over. There are things that still need to be done and you don’t want to leave them for the staff to do. Things like vacuuming or cleaning. Or straightening up your work area. How about checking out the equipment to make sure it is all good for the next service? Are the batteries on the charger? Is all the content ready to go on your ProPresenter machines? Your staff Director is usually staying late to take care of these small things, and most of the time he is spending hours away from his family doing small tasks that can easily be done by several volunteers. Take the initiative. Jump in and lead by doing these things before he can get to them.

3. Build relationships and help create culture.

Your staff Media Director is trying to build a dynamic volunteer culture while also being responsible for the execution of the service. Help him by building relationships and building a culture of community within the volunteer team. Be open to meet and talk with people. not only about what is happening at church but in other areas of their life. Spend time with other volunteers, on Sundays and during the week. When you’re serving, come with a smile and a great attitude, willing to do anything. Be the one to lead the group in prayer, start a game during a downtime, bring breakfast or snacks for the team, etc.

4. Help own the experience.

Lead the team in critiquing and improving elements in the service without being asked. Take ownership in how the worship experience is being executed for your congregation. Care. Rally the team in being the best you can be at executing the experience. If you have multiple services, take initiative between services to work on how to make things better- practice camera shots, work on transitions, talk through ideas on how to communicate better. If you really take pride and help own the process of creating an amazing experience at your church, it will be a great service to your staff Director, as well as to the Lord.

What are some other ways your volunteers lead from within your Production Team?

About Carl Barnhill

Owner, Church Visuals

Carl Barnhill is a creative entrepreneur, motion designer and author. He is the Owner Church Visuals, a company that helps Ministry Leaders visually communicate the Gospel. He is the host of the Your Visuals Matter Podcast. You can find him in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife, Katie and two sons, Jacob and Wesley.

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