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Families | Leadership | Volunteers

You’ve worked for a full year building the amazing team of volunteers in your ministry. Everyone is screened and interviewed and things are rolling along. Then, someone drops out. Someone asks for a leave of absence. One of them burns out. Suddenly your team is more like a te (okay, bad joke….it was Kurt’s). What happened?

There are a ton of reasons—and honestly many of them aren’t even your fault. But in our experience there are some pretty easy ways to lose a team in just a short period of time. Here are a few we’ve been guilty of before.

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Communicate with Parent’s Using the Communication Tool from SYM
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Waste their time.
Time is our most important asset, and if you waste someone’s time you’re wasting their life! Great volunteers quickly realize where they’re being squandered and head into other areas where the organization treats their time with respect. Start meetings on time. Run good meetings. Or quit having so many stinking meetings!

Don’t give them an assignment.
If you want volunteers to just show up and “mingle” at your youth program, they probably won’t last long. Chances are their wandering around the youth room will turn into wandering out the door! Give them something to do—even some discussion starter questions or a particular “zone” to manage will help give direction and increase ownership.

Don’t give them things that matter.

Don’t just give your team insignificant little tasks, give them big stuff that is mission-critical to your ministry. Give them stuff that hurts the ministry if they fail. Give capable people critical things. Let them rise to the occasion or ask for help if they need to. Either way, they’re IN.

Demand more and more from them.
We talk to a lot of youth workers and many of them expect their youth group leaders to also lead a small group and help at events and plan the retreat and setup/tear down everything. Those people are going to get burned out quickly! Don’t overwork your team or you’ll lose them in a heartbeat.

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Communicate with Parent’s Using the Communication Tool from SYM
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Don’t give them any time off.

No matter how much you give them, give them time off, too. We rest our youth group leaders once a month and small group leaders all summer. Give them a break before they break down.

What advice would you give to someone building a team?

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