Church Production

Right-Sized Roles

By David Wilcox
September 30, 2010 9:50 pm EST

Topics: Undistract

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I received an email recently from a volunteer video team member that included this line: "With you guys calling the shots…, my importance is less than it was." Red flags started flying in my mind, not for the volunteer, but for me as the leader of the team. Have I been taking on responsibilities that would best be handled by others? Or have our production requirements and communication lines changed enough that we are asking people to give their time to what is now a largely unnecessarily role?

That email reminded me of how important it is to right-size responsibilities for volunteers. More specifically, each volunteer needs to be responsible for enough to significantly affect the proclamation of the gospel but responsible for only as much as he can handle with peace and faith.

Another way to say it is this: no one should be stressed out, but each person should be doing enough that his work actually has an affect on the outcome of the service.

What are the benefits of right-sizing volunteer roles?

– All team members know they have an effect on gospel ministry.

– All team members will actually be able to fulfill their responsibilities in peace.

– Prospective volunteers, though they may know nothing when they check out the tech team, will see and believe that they are able to learn enough to do something to truly contribute to the church's message.

– New people who join the team can actually learn their roles in a reasonably quick amount of time.

– The current team members will be less likely to leave the team because they do contribute significantly, but without great amounts of stress.

– For the same reason, those people serving now will be more likely to talk to their friends about serving with them.

While I am confident most everyone would acknowledge the benefits of right-sizing roles, actually accomplishing that in real life is much more difficult. Each service is slightly different (if not wholly different). Each person has different gifts and skills and levels of training. Some roles simply require more skill or more time than others.

So, how do you get from your current crazy role to a more right-sized role? Here are some basic steps that we'll go over in more detail in the future.

– List out all of the responsibilities of everyone on the team, even the responsibilities that don't usually get done. If you want to think ahead, include responsibilities that you are not currently doing but that you will want to do in the next two years.

– Break the list of responsibilities down by role and by time. What is your main board operator doing during band rehearsal? What is your camera operator doing during walk-in? Write it all down.

– Locate the stressful times in each role. When are individuals responsible or too much?

– Try to redistribute everything that you can, so that someone who is less busy at that time takes some of the burden off the person with too much responsibility.

– Knowing that there will be variations from week to week based on who is involved and what the church service looks like, leave a good bit of margin in each role. My rule of thumb is that everyone should be really busy at least once, and every should be really bored at least once. If you're never bored, you're probably doing too much and don't have enough margin to handle the unexpected or to grow in excellence.

– Create new roles to take over some of the extra work. Get more people involved, each one doing less than their maximum.

– Eliminate roles that are no longer significant. No one wants to be giving their time to something of little or no significance.

Your Turn - Is your current volunteer role right-sized? If not, how could you and your team make it more right-sized? What challenges do you face in getting responsibilities spread peaceably among your team members?


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All entries for this blog:

  Right-Sized Roles

  Next 2010: The Mixes

  Next 2010: Setup Day

  Next 2010: Preview

  Undistract: Avoid Mistakes

  “Undistract” Defined

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