Sadly, many volunteers in the church are on the fence and on the verge of burnout. Volunteer positions that are unfilled, cause a select few to do double or triple duty. This leads to burnout and the whole cycle is stuck on repeat.
Why do so many volunteers burn out? What can you do about it? Here are three things you can do to prevent volunteer burnout.
1. Don’t ask volunteers to serve forever.
Serving in church shouldn’t feel like a life sentence. When people step into a volunteer role, they should step in knowing there’s an end in mind. Of course, volunteers may renew their term or jump to another area, but giving people an out is a great way to get people in.
2. Give volunteers a day off.
On Memorial Day weekend, my church cancelled all elementary programming. Yes, people stayed home and watched online. Yes, there were more kids in the service. But it was an incredible gesture to a group of hard-working volunteers.
You don’t have to be that dramatic in order to create opportunities for rest. How about doing large group gatherings during the summer with high school students carrying the load? What about strategically selecting one volunteer and giving him the day off and VIP treatment when he shows up to park cars? What about doing one big Bible study instead off Sunday School for the month of July? If you look at the calendar through the eyes of a volunteer, you’ll find there are lots of strategic times you can help volunteers rest.
3. Say thanks often.
Appreciation and recognition are like fuel. It will keep people going, but you’ve got to keep filling up the tank. I know you sent a personal thank you note a year ago, but that’s worn off. There’s a big difference between feeling grateful and saying thanks, so make sure you look for every opportunity you can find to heap words of affirmation on your volunteers.
Volunteer Burnout is a real thing, but if you give people a timeline, a day off and words of appreciation, they will be more inspired and engaged.
After all, volunteers should be the most inspired people in your church.
Download this free ebook entitled The Seven Deadly Sins of Volunteer Ministry and make sure you’re not unknowingly hurting your volunteers.