How To Handle Turnover In Your Ministry

Steps to Keep Them and Steps to Help Them Leave

I wish I could tell you that I’ve had a 100% retention rate for volunteers in my ministry.  I wish I could tell you that people have only left because of positive reasons.  That would be a lie.

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People will leave your ministry and it hurts when they do.  You might want to take it personally but the truth is there are many reasons.  But, is it possible to avoid turnover?  

YES AND NO

Let’s start with the negative.  You can’t avoid all turnover because people:

  • Move away.
  • Have seasons where they need to step back.
  • Feel called to server somewhere else.

Basically, life happens.  You can’t control life so when a volunteer steps away don’t take it personally.  While there are reasons out of your control there are steps you can take to decrease the turnover:

MAKE THEIR PURPOSE CLEAR

People will continue to serve if they know the ‘WHY’ behind it.  You need to make sure that purpose is clear by putting it into a:

  • Job Description (For a one sentence job description click HERE)
  • Casting Vision (For more on casting vision click HERE)

AFFIRM THEIR HARD WORK

On top of knowing the ‘WHY’ your volunteers need to know whether or not they are important.  Even if you are not a big encourager you need to make sure your team knows that they count.

Find different ways of affirming their hard work and sacrifice by:

  • Writing thank you notes.
  • Taking them out for coffee.
  • Praising them at the next meeting.

Be creative with whatever you do and don’t worry about leaving people out.  Thank people as best as you can because your authenticity will shine through and make an impact.

FOCUS ON COMMUNICATION

Clarity is key when it comes to bringing your team together.  The more they feel in the loothe more they feel committed to your vision.  They’ll be confident in how they serve which will result in better results.

Don’t be afraid to over communicate.  Look at different mediums and never assume that you’ve said enough.  A team that is clear on on what needs to be done is a high functioning team.

Focus on your strengths as a leader and never forget your team.  The more you invest in the men and women around you the less likely they are to leave.  But, when they do leave:

TRY NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY

Again, some of those reasons are out of your control.  While there are things you can do to adjust God has you right where you need to be.

HELP WITH THE TRANSITION

Be sure to thank them for what they’ve done, and if you can celebrate their achievement.  If they are leaving due to personal reasons figure out ways to serve them.

While they might be a volunteer on the way out you can create a culture where people know they are loved by their leader.

KEEP THEM IN YOUR PRAYERS

They are God’s children.  No matter why they leave be sure you ask God to bless them.  Not only will they receive God’s grace but your heart will grow stronger.  A leader that prays for his team learns to love them.

Turnover will happen and some of it is avoidable.  No matter the reason be sure to handle it well.  While there might be hurt remember God will provide.

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