5 Reasons Ministry Volunteers Quit

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Volunteers are needed! How many times have we seen this sign or posted it ourselves? Too many! We lose good volunteers and sadly ministry helpers do come and go. Sometimes the volunteers quit for reasons we could have prevented. While that is not always the case, leaders should know the five reasons why this most commonly occurs. Retain one of the most important elements of your ministry, the volunteers, and build a stronger team and reach all the children in your community.
1. The Endless Tour of Duty
People do want to help, but they want parameters, time limits. Between work, home and shuttling kids around, volunteers have schedules stuffed full. Ask for specific volunteer time frames, like one to three month rotations. With this kind of volunteering time frame, your helpers can step out and step back into the kids ministry schedule rather than just flat out quitting.
2. No Planning
Unless they specifically asked for roles in planning, most volunteers do not want to be assigned planning tasks. This is especially true if this is generally your job. While a helper may not mind stepping up when you are sick or out of town, they will expect you to prepare the lesson. Have an extra lesson or two on hand complete with teaching details to give to unprepared helpers. It is also worth noting if you want to “lead” volunteers, you have to be ready for everything. Give volunteers the tools they need to succeed, or they may not stick around.
3. Low Standards
Not everyone will agree with your methods of leading but helpers do want to be involved with a ministry that has a high standard of excellence. Take pride in your ministry, in the kids you lead and in your church. Avoid talking or acting negatively with those you mentor. Talk up to someone on the pastoral staff when you need to vent or feel frustrated. Raise the standard high so workers will have plenty of room to shine without being discouraged by our low standards.
4. No Thanks
Everyone enjoys an “atta boy” occasionally, more so after a difficult class or during a spiritual trial. While we know that part of leadership is learning how to “encourage yourself in the Lord” not everyone has reached this revelation. And truly, there is nothing wrong with being shown appreciation or hearing a heartfelt thanks. Award your volunteers a special gift, certificate or word of public praise during and after their service is completed.
5. Wrong Reasons
Many starry-eyed volunteers sign up for all the wrong reasons and quickly become disillusioned with the real challenges of kids ministry. Truthfully, many of us began our teaching ministry in much the same way but pressed through to find our real purpose. Helpers who are contemplating quitting may be facing this disillusionment. Prayer and encouragement should be given, but ultimately the volunteer will need to “reconnect” with God about their ministry future.
Know the five reasons volunteers quit so you can stop the loss of these crucial members of your ministry team. Surround them with prayer and make your volunteers your friends. Build your team by overcoming these five challenges.

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