Top 3 Reasons Why Your Volunteers Get Weary in Well-doing


volunteer burnoutBelow is a list of the Top 3 Church Volunteer Pet Peeves.  See if any ring familiar.  I have taken the time to write down some of their suggestions that would make life a whole lot easier!

  1. Feel like their time is being wasted
  2. Unproductive meetings
  3. Lack of resources to do their job

Feel like their time is being wasted. Volunteers complain that meetings start late which means they will end late, key people are absent rendering meetings obsolete, there are times volunteers show up for scheduled meetings that don’t occur.

Potential solution:  Pastors, emphasize to all of your chairpersons that meetings need to start on time and they need to take the responsibility of sending out email and or text message reminders; encourage them to have another committee member help them.

The average smartphone has a group text option.  This allows you to create a group name i.e ‘Ushers.’ Input members cell phone numbers once, write text message and hit send. The next time you need send your them a message you just click Ushers, write your message and hit send. There are features in church management systems that will do the same thing; however there are associated costs.

Email and or group text reminders should include: date and time of meeting with a call for a response. “Please Advise ‘yes or no’ regarding your attendance.” Do this even for regular monthly scheduled meetings.  People have a lot going on in their personal lives and will benefit from reminders.

If there are not enough confirmations consider canceling or postponing meeting.

Unproductive meetings.  Volunteers often complain about attending meetings where there is no agenda or copy of minutes.  Everyone tends to ramble on with their own issues meeting after meeting. Another common problem is someone has promise to take ownership over a tasks and fails to complete it; it goes UN-noticed until the next alarm sounds.

Potential solution.  Pastors make agendas and minutes mandatory.  These tools help to guide and focus meetings. Suggest that chairperson assign someone to take notes or set a ‘Round Robin’ schedule where everyone takes a turn taking notes.

Create a 4-Column Task Sheet: Date, Open Task, Assign to, Complete Date. This task sheet should be attached to each agenda and reviewed at each meeting.

Lack of resources to do job.  Nothing is worse than having a meeting and discovering there are no tables or chairs in your room, the curriculum was not ordered or the classroom is locked or worse yet, your entire committee is waiting outside on the parking lot again because the church building is locked.

Potential solution.  Pastors, we are asking these volunteers to sacrifice their time for the ministry work for the church.  The least we can do is assure they have the resources to do their jobs. Repeated complaints concerning access is unacceptable.

Engage your trustees, who are also volunteers, in solving this problem.  Perhaps a new system needs to be developed or a policy needs to be put in place regarding the removal of furniture from the rooms. If this happens frequently there may now be a legitimate case to purchase additional furniture assuring that rooms are properly set up.

Empower your chairpersons to work with trustees regarding access.  If this continues to be a problem, perhaps it is time for a  ‘changing of the guards’ or time to issue out more keys rather than risk shutting down an entire ministry because of frustrated volunteers.

 volunteer neededSUMMARY. Ninety percent of our churches run today are run by volunteers.  We are always recruiting.  It’s important to treat them with care. Contrary to popular belief committed volunteers are not that easy to come by. In addition, the average committed volunteer is working up to three or four other ministries so burnout is common.

With all of this mind, it is extremely important that we show our appreciation and care for their well being.

Was this helpful? Perhaps you have some other recommendations you would like to share.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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