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Why volunteers won’t show up for your training (1 of 3)

Why volunteers won't show up for your trainingThis guest series is contributed by Bill Allison of Cadre Ministries.

Training Killer #1: Lecturing Instead of Training

Perhaps the biggest mistake church leaders make when attempting to train volunteers and create a volunteer training culture in their ministries is that they allow the “trainer” to lecture.

Let’s be very candid: who is doing the training and how the training is conducted makes all the difference in how many attend the training. If you lecture, most volunteers will show up for “training” one time — and then most likely not come back to any “training” you offer in the future because it was boring. Because most volunteers in the church are nice, they would never tell you to your face that the training was boring, but if they stop coming to training (I want to say this as directly and politely as I can) there is a high probability that the training you are offering them is boring.

Mark my words well: Lecturing tends to kill the attendance of any of your future volunteer training efforts — and ultimately destroys your ability to create a true culture of training volunteers in your church. The goal of training is heart and mind engagement, passionate interaction, and biblical life-change, not the filling in of blanks in a training manual while the “expert” drones on and on! The training you offer volunteers in your church should be facilitated by a “guide-on-the-side” and not a “sage-on-the-stage.”

FREE bonus PDF download: Six ways training is different than lecturing (a.k.a: The Training Genius of Jesus)

Read Part 2! Part 3 will be here on Thursday.

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Bil Allison and familyBill Allison is the founder of Cadre Ministries, a ministry whose Eph. 4:11-12 obsession is to equip churches to make volunteers wildly successful. Cadre fulfills this obsession best by training trainers to take training back to their local ministries. Every month he publishes Cadre Connection, a FREE gold mine of training resources for volunteers in the church — and those who love volunteers in the church. Subscribe for free.


Posted on September 14, 2009

  • I completely agree. My favorite training as a volunteer is having round table discussions with other volunteers about issues we face. There's a wealth of wisdom to be gained from each other when we as volunteers share how we've dealt with common issues. I'm actually going to start gathering volunteers to do that later this month.

  • Dennis… love that YOU are a volunteer youth leader! What are you actually going to do with the other volunteers for training later this month. Just interested….

    • Bill – Thanks. I'm going to lead some round table discussions. It's a no-brainer type of meeting that yields great results. I'll give some prompts for table discussions such as "What's going great in your small group?" "Where do you need help as a leader?" "What have you faced with students that you're struggling to deal with?"

      From these prompts, each table of leaders will share ideas of what's worked for them. Veteran leaders can affirm newer leaders who don't yet realize we all face the same basic issues. Veterans are just the ones who've determined to last in spite of difficulties. They may have picked up a few lessons along the way, too, if they're fortunate.

  • Schwammy

    Bill's and Cadre's stuff ROCKS.
    What's more his training is fun and engaging.
    We're working on some training tactics and topics for this year in our ministry: Thanks for the resources!

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