I’m at the Orange Conference this week, and I’m blogging notes from breakouts and main sessions. Here are my notes on the pre-conference breakout entitled…

7 Quirks of Incredible Volunteers

Start Somewhere


  • Many people never take the first step.
    • The needs are too big.
    • There are too many to choose from.
    • They’re looking for the perfect fit.
  • Try something that appeals to you.
  • Start over if you’ve been burned.

Small is Big

  • Not normal volunteers believe the smallest things they do have the biggest results.
  • Don’t look for big things to do, look for small things. Small things have a bigger impact than we realize.

Own, Don’t Rent

  • Not normal volunteers are owners, not renters.
  • Owners invest more for a bigger return.
    • They show up on time.
    • They read their curriculum before they arrive.
    • They commit to serve each week. 

You, Me, & We

  • This is not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about how we do this together.
  • Everyone should understand we’re in this together.
  • Volunteers should get to know each other and develop relationships.
  • It’s about looking side to side to see what is going on around you – rather than focusing on yourself.

Honor the Leader

  • Leaders need volunteers. They need love, support, prayer.
  • When volunteers work against their leader, nothing good comes out of it.
  • Sometimes the best thing a volunteer can do is amicably move on if they are in conflict with their leader over vision.
  • Your leader needs a cheerleader, not a drama queen.

Replace Yourself

  • Many volunteers should look for and identify their next step.
  • Let go of what you want. Let go of your current role. Let go of controlling your future.

You Can’t Always See It

  • Many kids aren’t going to tell you how you have impacted them spiritually.
  • Help people understand they may never see those results, and that’s okay.

My Ideas for Action Items

  • Evaluate volunteer recruitment strategy to ensure there are clear opportunities where people can start.
  • Use the Not Normal book content in a volunteer training.
  • Identify a role you play where you can replace yourself.
  • Celebrate wins from student ministry in preschool and elementary to help people see the impact, even if it’s not on the specific kids they led.