I once read something about managing a charity shop. It said that in many ways managing a charity shop and the volunteers is harder than a normal managerial job. This is because the staff can have the attitude of, ‘I am a volunteer, I am helping you out and if you do not like it I will leave because I don’t need to be here.’ (I have seen this played out on more than one occasion when visiting charity shops).
Unlike normal employment, where work is done for reward, and the responsibilities of both parties (employer and employee) are understood, the charity shop volunteer feels no obligation as they are not paid.
Clearly they can still be of great benefit to the shop because of their costeffectiveness, but can be harder to manage from the point of view of the person who is responsible for the shop.
All small churches (and probably most churches) are dependant on volunteers or lay-people to ensure the church functions properly. Encouraging volunteers and managing them can be one of the most challenging things of being in church leadership.
For instance, the church webmaster or person responsible for the church website is probably a volunteer (like myself). So knowing this difficulty how should we behave.
Getting the church’s website up and running, may involve repeatedly ask for information and guidance from the church’ council. Because ultimately it is for them to decide on certain aspects, even if the church webmaster has experience.
And the church webmaster must be willing to take criticisim and not be discouraged, even if the complaints are not their fault. This can be hard, but it is a point that has wider implications for the church, as volunteers we need to be willing to put up and get on, for the wider interest. More thick-skinned volunteers are needed.