Welcome to Called to Lead: An Orthodox Christian Perspective. Demitri Fardelos and Mary Scott co-host this podcast with the help and support of their collaborators: His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, and the Strategic Planning Goal Team. This season discusses Orthodox Servant Leadership, diving into topics from developing servant leadership qualities to developing volunteer teams to conflict resolution.
In this episode, Fr. Chrysanthos Kerkeres from St. George in Chicago joins Demitri and Mary to discuss how to develop collaborative volunteer teams that drive the Church’s mission forward. Father and Presvytera Vicki have been serving at St. George in Chicago for the last eight years.
Volunteer recruiting can be difficult—finding the right members for the right positions. Parish leaders want to fit spots, but they do not want volunteers who are counterproductive and create conflict in the group. This episode discusses how leaders can recruit and develop better volunteers.
For teams to be successful, leaders must be fully transparent with all volunteers on what the expectations, both time and effort, are of their commitment to the ministries. It’s important to be honest when recruiting volunteers and to make sure that seats are being filled by the right people, faithful and loving people, instead of anyone who will accept a given role.
Fr. Chrysanthos, Demitri, and Mary discuss how work must be aligned towards collaboration that allows for trusting and compassionate conversations. Leaders should instill confidence in their teams, rather than micro-managing them. Leaders in the Church should be humble, participate in the sacraments, and actively practice the faith.
Fr. Chrysanthos explains how the ego causes most problems and stresses the importance of humility in Church leaders. When team members feel empowered, everyone can work together for the common mission of the Church and create positive change.
When recruiting volunteers for positions, it is important to be fully honest about the expectations and the time commitment. (1:53)
It is crucial to find kind, loving, and faithful people to fill the roles to avoid conflict and allow the ministries to grow. (4:44)
Leaders should work together with the team to instill confidence. It is important to empower people and not micro-manage them; this will make ministries more effective and parishioners accept responsibility. (5:30)
Fr. Chrysanthos believes that most problems come from the ego, and this is the same in the Church. Ego is the most challenging thing, and the solution is the opposite—humility. (9:30)
It is necessary to cultivate each individual’s potential through empowerment. This entails ensuring people are in the right position where they will have the greatest possible impact while being loving, compassionate, and honest. (11:32)
Parishioners should feel loved and accepted and know that leaders are coming from a place of wanting to help them. (13:45)
“We have to find the right people. We have to find the people who have the foundation of the Apostles, of the faith, of the Gospels, and are loving people.”
(Fr. Chrysanthos, 4:52)
“We really want to have quality in our ministries, on our Parish Councils, on our different Church boards. I think if we find people that are loving and have those gifts of the Holy Spirit, most of the work will play out automatically before us.”
(Fr. Chrysanthos, 5:10)
“It’s really important that we don’t fall into the trap of being micro-managers as clergy… once we are comfortable that we’ve surrounded ourselves with the right people—that we empower them. Empowering our parishioners is really, really important.”
(Fr. Chrysanthos, 6:28)
“The way that we explain something matters. So, when you’re compassionate and loving, you can be honest with your people.”
(Fr. Chrysanthos, 7:54)
“Most of our problems stem from our own ego, our disappointments, our quarrels. It’s the same in our groups in Church and our ministries and in our leadership teams.”
(Fr. Chrysanthos, 9:57)
“Ensuring that people are in the right position is very very important… At Church, we should want our parishioners to be in a position to succeed.”
(Fr. Chrysanthos, 12: 06)
“Once we have that foundation of love in our parish, people will be receptive to listening and to hearing, and they’ll know you’re coming from a place of wanting to help them.”
(Fr. Chrysanthos, 14: 25)