Volunteer Problems: Solved!

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What to do with a volunteer who shows up late—always?

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This is a serious issue. First, look at your own actions. Did you thoroughly take the volunteer through orientation? Did you communicate the vision and mission of the ministry? Did you carefully outline your expectations for timeliness?

Once you’ve determined those answers, pray before you approach the person. Affirm your volunteer and remind him or her how important the role is in ministry. Then remember that God’s Word is a two-edged sword that cuts right to the heart of the matter. When volunteers are never on time, I believe it’s a heart issue. First Corinthians 14:40 and Colossians 3:23 remind us to do things well as if for God rather than people. When you look at these verses, we’re all really serving God. Assume all volunteers are good-hearted and mean well. Keep that in mind when you approach them. Then work together to create an  accountability plan for how the volunteer will begin to arrive on time.

—Angel Vega

How do I deal with my hardearned recruits who jump ship if they get a better offer—to sing in the choir, take off for a football game, or just leave?

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When I recruit volunteers, they commit to one year of serving in our children’s ministry. When someone jumps ship, before they jump, I take that person through an exit interview. This lets me find out why the person is leaving and get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes the reasons are valid; sometimes they’re not. I know I can’t make volunteers stay, so I appeal to their heart.

I remind the person that children’s ministry is the greatest mission field and that God can work through him or her to change the landscape of eternity. I’m not necessarily trying to talk the person into staying, because a ministry is more effective when volunteers want to be there. It’s important, though, to communicate to volunteers that they can be the “hands and feet of Jesus” to children. I
also use situations such as this as teachable moments in their walk with God. When we make commitments, we honor God when we keep them. In a church setting, I believe all ministries are important. However, very few ministries impact the future as powerfully as children’s ministry.

—Angel Vega

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