Children’s Ministry Conferences Volunteers

Q&A: “What should a volunteer schedule look like to avoid burnout?”

avoid burnout

A Balanced Spiritual Life

This is a common question in any ministry, but especially for those working with children. The easy answer is balance and consistency, but the logistical answer depends on your church schedule.

Let’s start with balance. We want everyone who is a part of our church to find a place to serve so they can grow as Christ followers. That being said, we have the policy that if you are not attending church, you need to stop serving. Does that sound harsh? We have this policy to protect our volunteers. For example, we all probably have those “super volunteers” in our ministry who will say yes to everything we ask of them. Can they serve an extra service? Of course! Can they stay late to watch the staff kids? Their pleasure! Can they come Tuesday and count out small group supplies? Sure! However, the longer we ask them to do everything, the swifter they burnout, especially if they do not have an opportunity for corporate worship. It is better for us to protect our volunteers and help them learn a balanced spiritual life so they can be an example to others long-term.

On the other side, we all have the volunteers who are so afraid of committing because they don’t want to experience burnout. They may have already experienced burnout before, at a ministry or even as a PTA parent. So they try to “balance” serving with the rest of their life by signing up to volunteer once a month or just “when they can.” However, in this scenario, they miss out on true connection with the kids and other volunteers and eventually drop out of serving entirely.

That is why we talk to our volunteers about this up front during recruiting and in volunteer training. We first talk about Matthew 22:37-40 and God’s plan for a balanced spiritual life, and then we show this short video example to our volunteers.

A Balanced Spiritual Life (volunteer training video)

Hopefully, as volunteers see this modeled out by our leaders and other volunteers, they’re able to grow into consistent, thriving volunteers who do not burnout.

The Logistics Of A Balanced Schedule

Now onto logistics. As I mentioned in our Q&A breakout at C3, I’d encourage you to talk to your pastor or leadership team about having two services; then volunteers can attend one and serve the other every weekend. We have 3 services available at our Grapevine campus. When we first opened our Fellowship Church Celina campus, volunteers had the opportunity to come to Grapevine on Saturday night and serve at Celina’s single service on Sunday morning. The Celina campus has since moved to two services on Sunday morning.

If you only have one service for the foreseeable future, we have heard of churches on a 4 week or 8 week schedule – where the same teachers teach the whole Elevate series, or at least 4 weeks in a row. Other churches’ volunteers serve on an every other weekend schedule. There are pros and cons to both. Whatever your schedule, remember consistency and balance is key to connect with kids and avoid volunteer burnout.

What ways does your church help volunteers avoid burnout?

 

This was one of many questions Pastor Mike did not get a chance to answer fully during his C3 Conference Q&A session. Stay tuned for more or click the Q&A tag to see other questions and answers.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Lisa
    September 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Fantastic little article and video! We have both types of people in our children’s ministry. Unfortunately we only have one worship service in each language at our 3-language church. We also only have sermon recordings online in English. We should fix that… Thanks!

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