I come from a family that enjoys left overs. In fact there are certain meals that I like to make in bulk, so that I can enjoy them for lunch and dinner on multiple days (i.e. chili, split pea soup and tacos). But as much as I love leftovers, there can be times where I have so many, or one isn’t as memorable as the others, that they are forgotten about, until I notice a smell and when the lid is opened I have to use all my strength not to loose it. (Sorry if you are reading this at lunch).
Unfortunately, we waste food, but even more unfortunately many youth ministers waste the talents, commitments and love of our volunteer ministers. Many of us spend time talking to other youth workers about how we need more ministers; however, before we get more we need to make sure we are wise with who we have. But how do you do that? How do you know when you are being wasteful and when you are being wise with who you have?
3 Signs of Underutilized Ministers:
- You Question Their Role – You ever see a volunteer doing something that causes you to go, “Huh?” It’s like they have no clue how to do what they are supposed to do? Maybe you told them at their orientation, but if you haven’t trained a minister, if you don’t go back and realign them, they’ll start creating their own habits, and next thing you know you’ll wonder? “Why are they here?” If a ministry position doesn’t make sense, sit down with the person in it, have a conversation with them, because you might need a refresher or they might affirm your beliefs.
- They Rot – Now before you go picturing rotting people (zombies!) think about what your attitude would be if you showed up week in and week out with out given a purpose. It would be pretty rotten. Sometimes we need people desperately, but we don’t show them how to grow in their ministry. What this causes is a rotten or sour attitude because they are feeling used and underutilized. They are committed so they don’t leave, but they’re heart broken, so they become a little jaded. This can be dangerous.
- They Disappear – If you don’t care about your ministers they’ll leave. This happens when their is a lack of personal investment from you and your leadership staff. Granted we only have the ability to invest in a certain amount of people; however, if ministers do not feel loved, they’ll go away. To avoid this plan times where you can sit one on one with your ministers, encourage a small group leaders celebration or just get to know their family. When you can invest in them, they’ll invest in what you believe.
Unfortunately, there are many of us who spend more time on recruiting than we do on training and investing. If you don’t you’ll notice yourself questioning who you have, you’ll witness attitude changes and eventually some of the good ones will disappear. It’s not the easiest thing to do; however, it can be the most rewarding.
How do you invest and utilize your ministry team so that they feel valued and loved?