Volunteer Problems: Solved!

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Struggling with tough volunteer issues? Ask the experts!

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Volunteers are the backbone of children’s ministry, the feet on the ground that get the job done. They’re also the biggest need most ministries have, and they require ongoing coordination, care, and affirmation. We love our volunteers and know children’s ministry wouldn’t be possible without them.

Yet with all the many volunteers lending their hands and hearts to sharing God’s love with children, problems are nearly inevitable. Different personalities, commitment levels, expertise, and other complexities can create common problems leaders must deal with. As a leader, you’ve no doubt had your share of issues related to volunteer management. We tossed a few common issues to volunteer management experts and asked for help. They delivered! Read on for expert, practical advice.

How do I handle volunteers who say “yes”—and then don’t follow through and show up?

Volunteers who say yes but then don’t show up to serve may be viewing their service as a task rather than a ministry. There are a couple of causes to consider.

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First, it’s not uncommon for children’s ministry leaders to encourage prospective volunteers by saying, “This is really easy; anyone can do it!” Unfortunately, this sentiment devalues the service and can lead a volunteer to think that if anyone can do it, someone else will. Connecting acts of ministry to the mission is critical for new volunteers to buy in. For example, explain that preparing a snack for children silences their hungry tummies so they can focus on the lesson.

Another contributing factor to “no-show syndrome” is when a volunteer doesn’t consider him or herself part of a team or fails to see the bigger picture. Asking the volunteer to always think about who’ll be affected if he or she agrees to the role but then doesn’t show will help that person see the impact of actions/inactions on the entire ministry.
     

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