When Volunteers Have Had Enough

Thomas Costello Church Leadership Leave a Comment

Churches can’t survive without volunteers. With few paid staff, church volunteers take on a wide variety of important tasks.

However, you can push volunteers too far. When they’ve had enough, they stop volunteering completely, leaving the church high and dry.

It’s important to keep your volunteers happy and motivated. Without them, it’s impossible to run the church, keep the church growing and run ministry programs.

Most Programs And Groups Stop

When you push volunteers to the point where they’ve had enough, they step away from their tasks. Stop and think about all the different programs and ministry groups that are run completely by volunteers. Could your church afford to stop almost everything but regular services? Your volunteers are your ministry. Without them, the running of your church comes to a grinding halt.

Overall Attendance Drops

No church wants to see attendance dropping. While most members miss one or two services a month, volunteers who don’t feel appreciated or they’re pushed too hard may stop coming altogether. They’ll seek out a new church family that better appreciates all they have to offer. You’re not just losing volunteers. You’re also losing members. If they leave, friends and family may also leave.

New Growth Starts To Decline

Volunteers and members are vital in helping bring in new members. While having a website and social presence help, if you’re treating your volunteers badly, any new members you bring in from those sources probably won’t stay long. New growth is hard enough as it is.

Church volunteers are often the ones responsible for outreach programs that help bring in the unchurched. They invite friends, family and co-workers. They also welcome new members and make them feel like part of the family. Pushing away the volunteers who help boost growth drastically slows down any new growth in your church.

Members Become Stressed

The church is like one massive family. When your entire family is in the same room and part of the family is stressed and frustrated, the others will feel it. When church volunteers have enough, their entire attitude changes. Part of worshipping is also serving. If they don’t feel like they can even do that, they’ll have a negative attitude towards the church.

This attitude causes strife among the members. Tensions rise and before you know it, members are bickering or staying distracted during services. Some may even leave to find a more positive environment.

Church Leaders Feel Unworthy

Naturally, church leaders are going to feel unworthy for pushing volunteers past their limits. In most cases, leaders don’t mean to do anything wrong. For instance, a church leader might have a bad habit of micro-managing volunteers. Doing this too much pushes volunteers and members away.

When church leaders seem to lack confidence, the volunteers who are trying to stick it out tend to leave too. Plus, the entire church family starts to lose morale and motivation.

Solving The Problems

Even if your church volunteers have had enough, you shouldn’t give up hope. God forgives and so will your members and volunteers. You just need to act quickly to stop any negative side effects. The first step is to stop pushing your volunteers away. A few common mistakes include:

  • Guilting them into doing more than they have time or energy for
  • Refusing to hear their ideas
  • Pushing them into opportunities that don’t suit them
  • Micro-managing
  • Never offering leadership opportunities
  • Always focusing on what went wrong instead of what went right

Talk to your volunteers to find out why they’re frustrated and ready to leave. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn. It’s okay to admit if you’re making mistakes, just as long as you’re ready to correct them.

The next step is to start actively recruiting new volunteers. By treating them right from day one, you’ll have highly motivated church volunteers that are ready to help the church grow and thrive.

Are you trying to recruit new volunteers or engage volunteers who’ve left? Use your church website to recruit and connect with your volunteers.

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