Plan The Best Orientation For New Leaders

Courtesy of michaelcardus/Creative Commons License

It’s that time of year when you are busily recruiting new leaders, plugging them in and getting them ready for their first year of ministry.  You make the announcements at church, send out emails to parents and encourage your current volunteers to invite their friends.
You find that your recruiting effort is working, people are calling and inquiring about getting involved.  Now that you have their interest you need to not only keep it; but, make sure they are comfortable getting started.  Your solution?  Is to plan an informational meeting or an orientation.  So, where does one start?  How do you create an informational meeting where new leaders feel equipped and ready to serve?  You get them ready by making sure your orientation:

  • Simulates The Program – If they are new they probably have little to no clue what your ministry looks and feels like.  If you are holding a meeting for small group leaders, make the meeting space look like your small group room.  If you are hosting a parents meeting, take them through a format similar to the one you use with the teens.  By simulating the program you allow them to get a taste before they jump in.
  • Builds Community – Chances are that most of them are nervous about plugging into ministry.  Just as you would host an icebreaker for new students in your ministry, try doing that for new leaders.  Make sure the meeting has time for community building and sharing.  Don’t just hold a lecture, include some interaction.
  • Starts And Finishes On Time – It’s not only rude to go over, but it’s also a sign of disorganization and lack of preparation.  When you give people a start time and an end time you are making a promise.  In order to keep within the time you’ll need to practice and make sure you have your materials readily available. 
  • Gives Them Clear Action Steps – In an orientation you are building up emotions, and setting expectations.  If you don’t have an action step for your participants that fire will go out quickly.  Make them simple and communicate them clearly, the idea is to keep the participants moving forward.

If this is an overwhelming idea, share the burden with a coworker or trustworthy volunteer.  You want orientation for new leaders to be a fun and memorable experience.  If you are only focused on recruiting and not orienting you’ll find yourself having plenty of turnover before your season of ministry even begins.  Build leaders who will last by giving them a memorable beginning to their journey.

What do you do to make orientation for new leaders engaging and memorable?