Getting a “Yes” in Word and Action

September 28, 2011

It happens all the time, all around us. There is a phenomena that has crept into our society and we find that it happens more and more all of the time. Children, adults, men, and women, it does not matter who you are, this phenomena could happen to you. You may be debating taking part of it right this moment, or you may be an innocent bystander. What is it that I am talking about? It’s

Alright so maybe I took too much time building it up for something so small that may cause you to stop reading this post all together, but stick with me, it will get better. I am almost sure of that.

I deeply despise having people drop out on me at the last second. I think that everything is running smoothly. I have all the volunteers I have for a youth event all lined up, and the day before (if that far in advance) I get a call (or less personal, a facebook message) letting me know that a particular individual cannot make it. They come up with some excuse, “its a family emergency.” Later I find out their brother-in-law had set up a new airsoft and “desperately” needed help testing it out. Sometimes individuals have a legitimate excuse. Most of the time they are backing out because they have found something else that sounds more fun to them.

Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 21 where a son does this to his father. The father wants his son to go work in a field and the son says “sure thing dad, I will be right out there (my paraphrase). But then we are told the son doesn’t go. Who knows why he chooses not to. All we know is he said he would and then he does not.

Of course this parable is about doing God’s will, not the will of Brandon, but I can most definitely feel the pain of the father here.

There is another son in the story as well (actually it is the first son the father goes to). This one says he will not go but “afterward he regretted it” and went to work in the field. I suppose you could look at this story and find both the son’s words to be unreliable but I would much rather have someone tell me they can’t do something and then change their mind and come to work alongside me.

So what does that take? How do we get other people to come alongside us? How do we get them to answer “Yes” and to act on that answer.

Do it: First we need to make sure that we are reliable people. This will not change the actions of everyone but it can’t hurt. When we give someone our word we need to follow through with this. That does require we don’t overbook ourselves and only say yes to what we know we have the time to commit.

Don’t overbook others: Sometimes we go to the same 2 or 3 individuals for everything. That can wear them down and after awhile it can lead to them saying no either in word or action. Spread out the responsibilities. Make sure to find what someone is good at and ask them to be involved in an area that involves that strength.

Set them up to succeed: Make sure to find what someone is good at and ask them to be involved in an area that involves that strength.

Show appreciation: It does not hurt to give your volunteers some extra praise now and then (more now than far off in the future). This can be done through cards, meals, verbal praise, a volunteer retreat, or anything else you can come up with to show them how much you appreciate them. People are much more likely to stay committed when they know they are appreciated.

Think about what it would take for you to say “Yes” and stick to that answer and do that for your volunteers. It won’t mean you will never have anyone backing out, but they will be a lot less likely to do it.


What other things would you suggest to someone who is having problems with their volunteers not staying committed? 


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