Build Team Alignment to Your Vision by Celebrating Individual Significance

Does your team have general agreement around your vision, but lack ownership and alignment?

Effective teams do not just agree on vision, they own it and align every ounce of energy and effort toward accomplishing the vision. As a leader, you can sense the difference between your team liking the vision and your team leading toward vision.

In most instances, simple agreement feels like an invisible wall sits somewhere within the team. A divide of mistrust, misunderstanding, or missed input often exists in the origination of the vision. This always leads to misalignment and missed opportunity in the execution of vision.

Every busy week brings a fresh truckload of glass bricks for your team to stack on this invisible wall. No one has ill motives. No one intends cement separation, but the walls go up without conscious notice as the pace of ministry continues.

The good news is that it’s NOT rocket science to take down a wall. Haven’t you noticed it’s easier (and usually more fun) to demolish than it is to build? What your team needs are sledgehammers to take down these hard-to-see barriers.

How do you tear down your team’s invisible walls?

Celebrate individual significance to the vision.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Volunteer Project

As a church or nonprofit leader who relies on volunteer teams to get the job done each week, you know how difficult it can be to keep all of your volunteer roles filled.You feel overworked and understaffed, with a budget smaller than your vision. Sometimes your ministry can feel like it has a revolving door, simultaneously bringing in new volunteers as current ones leave.The cycle of volunteer recruitment and turnover can be overwhelming, leading to frustration and distracting from the mission.

In The Volunteer Project, the authors introduce you to four strategies that, when applied, will launch your church or nonprofit ministry into what they call a zero recruitment model of volunteerism.

Formulated from the authors’ research, combined 50+ years of experience in leading volunteer teams, and the feedback of hundreds of volunteers, these four strategies are designed to provide individuals with such satisfying volunteer experiences that they are motivated to continue volunteering, and even invite their friends to join them.


Our lives are both too busy and too short to spend our time doing things that don’t connect with the core of who we are. Even when we enjoy doing something, and the doing of it brings satisfaction, the experience is tainted if it is not fulfilling. It is very important that volunteers experience fulfillment and satisfaction in the roles and ministries they are connected to.

Leaders have a responsibility to help their teams not only serve in fulfilling roles, but to help their team members see how they are a significant part of the overall vision.

Deep within each of us is an inner desire to live a life of significance and meaning. We all long for a better future. We want to make a difference. We want to leave the world a better place. Something magical happens when a person’s search for significance collides with an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than oneself.

As leaders, when we understand the power of pairing personal participation with widespread impact, we approach every volunteer position as a platform to assist each unique individual in discovering their potential. As leaders of volunteers, it is our responsibility to assist them in unlocking and developing hidden or underused gifts. When we approach our volunteers with this mindset, our focus shifts from what they can do for us to what God can do through them. In this manner, we are celebrating their significance by doing the hard work of connecting them to opportunities that fulfill their search for meaning.

Within most of our ministries and organizations, we have a clear outline of the positions we need fulfilled. I can imagine right now you might be asking the question, “Is it possible to fill volunteer vacancies, provide meaning to each individual volunteer, and still fulfill the mission of my organization?” The good news is yes! When you understand the types of personalities and giftedness that best fills each unique volunteer role, you are better able to communicate with volunteers. And when they are provided with straightforward communication and an understandable job description, volunteers are able to thrive in accomplishing the mission.

A new volunteer is like an unopened present with layers to be unwrapped. As leaders, we get to peel back these layers by providing opportunities for volunteers to use their gifts to make a meaningful difference.

It’s a win-win! We have the honor and responsibility of helping individuals discover their unique gifts in serving Christ, and they help fulfill the vision and mission of our organization.That partnership is exactly how God intended it to be.

When you skillfully cast vision, you are connecting a volunteer’s inner search for meaning to tangible actions and relationships. Volunteers who feel the exhilaration of thriving in a role become committed to their role within the organization. Once they experience how what they do meets a deep need within them to fulfill God’s unique purpose in and through their life, you may find it is difficult to convince them to volunteer anywhere else.

– Darren Kizer, Christine Kreisher, Steph Whitacre, TheVolunteerProject


How effective is vision communication within your team? To measure your effectiveness, conduct the following exercise.

Gather your team for a “significance” check-up…

  • Ask each team member to come prepared to talk about a time in the last six months when they felt that they made a significant contribution to the church’s vision.
  • First, prepare to edify their contribution and bring at least one example for each team member when you saw them contribute in a significant way. (This is helpful if a team member cannot see their contribution on their own).
  • After each team member shares, follow-up with additional questions that reveal their particular leadership strengths at work in that contribution.
  • Now discuss with the team how they might celebrate the contributions of their volunteer teams in a similar way.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 50-1, September 2016

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.