Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Well for the second year, I’ve decided that a great way for me to invest in my boys and love on our community, is to coach soccer for 2 of my boys teams in our local AYSO league. (The largest youth sports league in the country with 600,000 kids in it nationwide.) It is a MONSTER time commitment and this year we add attending games for Jake too into the mix. That means 3 games every Saturday, plus 2 practices a week per kid. 2 of those games and 4 of those practices also fall on my leadership shoulders. I give my time for the love of the game and in the name of loving my boys. I also do it in honor of loving my God in the full view of the watching world around me. I do it to keep my eyes on reality, since as pastor my world can easily be swallowed up by a very narrow slice of the world who attends church here in East County.

That having been said, I went to probably the worst volunteer meeting I’ve been in for a long time. I went needing to be encouraged and supported in the goal of soccer. Instead I was threatened and motivated evidently through “negative” leadership. As one whose full time job involves working almost exclusively with with volunteers, my AYSO coaches meeting last night was a lesson in what not to do with a meeting where I desire to motivate and direct my volunteers. Here’s my learnings/reminders from the land of a bad coaching meeting:

  1. Pacing back and forth from one side of the room to the other while ranting about rules and policy does not increase the ownership of the rules, it makes you look obsessed with them.
  2. If you must criticize. Do it assuming that no one in the room is guilty of what you’re talking about- especially when 90% of them are not.
  3. Never tell those who do the most in your program that they must not have the ability to say no.
  4. If you don’t know how long someone has been serving in your program, don’t make your default guess that this is their first year. You look like an idiot when they answer that they’ve been with you for 8 years.
  5. Have an agenda. Not just one in your head. One others can follow and understand.
  6. Have materials ready before people arrive. No one enjoys volunteering in administrative confusion.
  7. Threatening people with your anger never results in a deeper commitment to you or your cause. It does make them wonder if you are related to Hitler.
  8. The good cop/bad cop team roles is a lame leadership tool. Don’t use it.
  9. Don’t wait until the very last sentence to tell your volunteers that they are valuable. Tell them first, then prove it by giving them your respect all through your meeting.
  10. If you started doing a job for the love of it and have come to hate it as an unwanted burden, it’s time to re-think your role.

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