Huddle Up


(This note was sent to equip Head Coaches and Coaches in our ongoing journey to develop a thriving and reproducing Volunteer Leadership Development Pipeline at West Ridge Church. It’s totally ok for you to peak behind our curtain.)

Ever noticed a quarterback having to tell his guys to huddle up. There is this little motion they do with both hands open and the fingers outstretched, you pull your hands together to intertwine the fingers a couple of times. It means let’s get together. If someone who doesn’t know football looked at it from an outsiders perspective you might think the quarterback is asking for a group hug.

Most of the time huddling is a given, but when the quarterback has been in a hurry up offense for a few plays trying to make things happen quickly they have to break the ‘hurry up’ mode with this cute little gesture. We get in a hurry for lots of reasons like trying to keep the defense on its heels, or perhaps by starting a Third Service and cutting down the amount of time in between services making some leaders feel like everything is more rushed! See what I did there! 🙂

Huddling is important. It brings the connectivity to volunteering so people don’t feel like they are just doing a job. Your huddles are probably very quick; five, ten, fifteen minutes max. Here are some tips on huddling that will add value to even a short amount of the time.

1. Begin with BLESS. A majority of West Ridge Staff Meetings begin with a question, “Who are you BLESSing? The acronym stands for: Begin with prayer, Listen to what people are saying, Eat with them, Serve them, Share your Story with them. Not every staff member answers the question every week. In fact, there are some periods where the answer is the same, or no further progress has been made. That’s ok. Prayer can keep going as long as needed, but all of us should have someone outside of the Christian faith that we are figuring out how to BLESS.

2. Cast Vision. Walking around on Sunday a couple of weeks ago, I sensed God reminding me that He has a vision for every volunteer role. If He doesn’t, let’s not waste people’s time in asking them to do something. As the Coach or Head Coach, do you have a vision for every volunteer role on your team? Not the reason a task could or should be done, but the vision for how that volunteer opportunity helps create opportunities for Life Change.

In a huddle, pull out one volunteer every week and in front of everyone give the vision for how what they do creates Life Change. Everyone will leave that huddle under your leadership ready to tackle every challenge of the day and seize every opportunity.

3. Give Information. The Pastor, Director, or Ministry Leader probably give you some things to share here and there to keep you all moving together. Our Director of Mission and Mobilization, Kevin Dunlap, told me when I was Children’s Pastor that lack of information creates anxiety. I’m not going to tell you why he told me that, but I may have given him a reason. Make sure everyone feels like they know what they need and then some to make the whole team successful.

4. Pray. Prayer is not a throw away, a last resort, or a convenient way to end a meeting. In fact you may want to begin your huddle with it. Prayer reminds us that on any given Sunday the impossible can happen. Every day of our own journeys can be filled with holy expectation when it is covered in prayer, and Sunday should be no different. Let prayer fill God’s house so that He can show up and not hold back.

How do you know if it’s a good huddle? When you break your team should be inspired and energized. It won’t happen every time, but if it happens enough, your volunteer team will buzz with energy and unity and will recruit others to multiply the work.


Paul Richardson
Pastor of Ministry and Leadership Development
West Ridge Church

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BLESS GraphicI would never be described as a woodsman. There’s some soap in my bathroom right now that is supposed to have a ‘musk’ scent. Why someone would want to wash their hands and have them smell like they just rolled them through the forest floor I’ll never know. However, I did go hunting once. I actually thoroughly enjoyed sitting 30 feet up in a tree on a 10 degree morning at 6am replaying images of the original “Red Dawn” movie in my head.

I had an experience that day I’ll never forget. This statement is going to sound a bit contradictory. The more intently quiet things were, the louder things became. In one moment I was startled by what I was sure were the claws of a puma climbing down the tree to attack me. After several minutes of looking around I discovered the piercingly loud scratching sound were two leaves rustling against each other. After shaking off the embarrassment I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I can’t even begin to describe how loud this was. It seemed to have the decibel level of my 7 year old talking right in my ear and trying to tell a secret (He hasn’t quite mastered that yet). With the distractions removed I heard something loud and clear I otherwise would never have experienced. If I had been hurried or distracted I never would have heard this symphony of leaves.

If you really want to BLESS someone, you have to be willing to listen to them. Listen to their perspective. Listen to their point of view. Try to understand where they are coming from before you try to make yourself understood. Put your phone down. Close the laptop lid. Lean over the table and listen intently. If they make comments like, “I don’t believe God cares”, or “What difference does it make?”, or they say something that you disagree with every fiber of your being, just listen. Learn their concerns, learn their values, learn their spiritual condition by listening. Before you jump to any conclusions, or before you allow yourself to be heard, listen.

Of course, this is not an end unto itself. It is only part of the process to BLESS. But it’s a very valuable one, and the thing that is easiest for me to skip. Begin with prayer, and listen.

Still Learning,


More Generosity To Come

Currently, West Ridge Church is in the middle of a great series called The Generosity Experiment. Each week we have been asking folks that attend to add $1 to their giving to demonstrate what can happen when we are all generous with our time, our talents/gifts, and our treasure. We have a great story to tell this Sunday of how we have been able to be generous this week.

Here’s a look at what happened last week.

Begin With Prayer

We begin with prayer. Before we do anything else. Before we make a plan. Before we make a move. Before we stretch out a hand to someone in need. Before anything makes sense. Before anything is worked out. Begin with prayer.

It’s in the first moment of waking up. It’s breathing in what God is already doing, and breathing out to join Him there. For some prayer follows a constructive pattern. But prayer is not repeating a list that we want to make God aware of. Prayer is a meeting. It is a gathering with God if only for a moment. One moment intersecting with the power of God is more powerful than 10,000 moments accomplished with our own effort.

If you move forward without prayer, you either a) Don’t believe in it, or b) you would rather just do it yourself. I’m sure that for most they don’t even realize it. Many of us need to be unraveled. We need to let the scales fall off, or scrub away the old callus’ so that the stale and old can be made new again.

Before building up. Before tearing down. Before renewal. Before new life. Begin with prayer.