‘Stewardship’ most often makes one think of money, but there is a strong need for churches large and small to become better stewards of people’s time and talent and energy.

This series of three webinars, Engaging Volunteers in Ministry: A Deeper View of Stewardship—given by two well-known Canadian practitioners in volunteer engagement, Marilyn MacKenzie and Suzanne Lawson—will help you better understand how lay ministry is mobilized and led, and the ways that people’s God-given gifts can be best used in service of God’s mission.

You can register to watch this webinar on your own, but an even better way is to watch it as a small team of both clergy and lay people from your church or diocese.  The sessions will be no more than an hour long, and there will be good online resources for your team to work with afterwards.  You might wish to set aside an additional hour to begin that consultation if you are watching as a team.


Find out more and sign up for these free webinar sessions:

Session 1: Introduction to the Leadership of Volunteers in Your Church’s Ministry – WATCH
Beginning with the theological undergirding for the way lay peoples’ ministry as volunteers can be more effective and aligned with our Christian values, this first session will highlight the trends in people’s use of their volunteer time, trends that are particularly applicable to the church setting. The Volunteer Leadership Cycle will be introduced as a framework for the series…a look at the various elements of good stewardship of peoples’ time and talents. This is designed to help you identify the elements of effective volunteer engagement, such as recruitment, matching people’s gifts with their tasks or positions, nurturing and supporting people in their ministries, and recognition of their contributions.

Session 2: Getting Started – WATCH 
The second session will help you decide how to assemble a small team to lead a church-wide (or diocesan-wide) effort in engaging volunteers, and will give you guidance in determining the readiness of the parish for any changes that may be needed. Then, rolling up the sleeves time:  designing jobs or positions for volunteers that are clear, attractive and accountable.  And do-able! This step is vital if the church is to prevent future problems with “difficult volunteers” (do you have any?), to fulfil screening requirements, and to also draw people into the life of the church in a healthy and nurturing way.

Session 3: Recruitment – WATCH
While the word “recruitment” often elicits images of military conscription, recruitment in a church setting includes helping an individual Christian determine the gifts and the time she/he has to offer the church and then matching those gifts with a piece of work, whether for a year-long elected position or a short-term task. This work, if neglected, might harm the church’s ministry and even the faith base of many individuals. Some good practical tips will be presented, and some ideas about the kinds of conversations that will help in the matching process.


Marilyn MacKenzie
by Suzanne Lawson 

mackenzie1Marilyn is a well-known writer and trainer in the field of volunteer administration. Her books are many, with titles such as Dealing With Difficult Volunteers, The Volunteer Development Tool Box, and Group Member’s Handbook.

Years of experience in engaging volunteers led to her more recent interest in how church volunteers (or engaged members) can be led and organized more sensitively and offered ways to contribute their gifts in their churches and communities. She’s a lifelong Anglican whose volunteer experience in churches has often left much to be desired.

Her professional life began as a head nurse in a ward of dying children at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital. Later in her career she was in senior positions in a variety of voluntary sector organizations. Her life as a consultant and trainer in an organization called Partners Plus sent her all over North America to share with many groups of leaders her deep knowledge, her wisdom, and her marvelous sense of humour.

Marilyn now lives in three different places and three different dioceses (New Westminster, Algoma and Toronto, not at the same time), travels all over with her great husband, Murray, and finds ways to spend valuable time with her three kids, their partners, and four wonderful grandchildren…and her dog! And she puts up with me whenever we can get together!

Suzanne Lawson
by Marilyn MacKenzie

lawson1Suzanne is a much sought after consultant and facilitator in the non-profit sector. Her work in the voluntary sector has been extensive and varied, acting officially as an executive director at provincial and national health charities.

She has promoted voluntarism in her work with the Canada-wide Voluntary Sector Roundtable and Voluntary Sector Initiative, and acted as a catalyst for the creation and expansion of collaboration amongst health charities serving patients with neurological problems. She is always willing to help people “get clear” about their direction and their dreams.

Suzanne’s commitment to the Anglican Church has been demonstrated as a staff person and volunteer at the international, national, diocesan and parish level. Her most recent work with the national church is in the Resources for Mission department. At the international level she has twice represented Canada in the Anglican Consultative Council, which exists to promote collaboration across the Anglican Communion.

Suzanne has the gift of pulling diverse ideas together and building bridges, especially in strategic planning. She is deeply involved in projects that matter to people and communities. She is an expert listener—able to probe deeply to help people articulate their needs and concerns. Her energy is legendary!

Suzanne and I have been friends for forty years. We seek out opportunities to work together because although we sometimes disagree, we always learn from one another and appreciate the rich experience each brings to any discussion. Our most recent adventures include travel to Egypt and Israel. Suzanne shows no signs of slowing down and that’s very good news—for all of us.

*Suzanne and Marilyn met almost forty years ago working as volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society where they co-wrote the first-ever manual for Cancer Society education volunteers.  And they’ve been friends (and working together) ever since.