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Project Kickstart

Lesleigh Keetch


When Everything Falls Apart

It's unfortunate...but it happens: A team of volunteers collectively checks out and nothing you do seems to help. Whether it's poor attendance, lack of interest, conflict, or a malfunctioning ministry, whenever volunteer apathy is damaging a ministry or program, it's critical to assess your situation.

• Look for "danger ahead" signals. "When you experience warning signs, go to other members of your church staff seeking ideas, prayer, and support, especially your senior pastor," says Spidle. Be open to suggestions that get to the heart of the problem.

• Evaluate if the ministry or program is dying. Maybe the program really needs to be redesigned or relaunched. Or perhaps this program's failure has revealed a different need. Every program has a life span and requires regular checkups. Evaluating and adapting programs will put your ministry on the path to health. Ask your volunteers for input. Give them a private, "safe" environment to tell you what they really think.

Once you've assessed the situation, decide on a new plan and bring your strongest leaders on board, including other staff members, church leadership, or high-level volunteers. Determine which volunteers will go forward and which will go away. You need a team willing to embrace the new plan.

• Create change. Once you've assessed your situation, changes are inevitable. Some changes may happen right away and some may be long-term solutions that slowly evolve. Communicate your plan for change to your volunteers and ask for their support. Give a time frame for the change and stick to it.

• Consider the ministry's image. Ministries that have suffered grave harm may opt for a complete "face-lift" approach by creating new logos, ministry names, and graphics. Whatever your approach, educate your team about why the change is necessary and promote how it'll positively impact children and families.

• Keep your promises. Follow through on the promises you make to volunteers. Period. Recruit leaders who'll help you keep those promises.

• Maintain momentum. Momentum revitalizes. When people see exciting changes, they're more likely to jump on board and stay excited. Remember Isaiah 40:31: "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

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