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Fire Your Volunteers

Here is an excerpt from Todd's blog, Monday Morning Insights, about "Firing Volunteers"

Peter Hamm writes: "I think it's possible that the hardest thing we have to do in ministry is letting a volunteer go. Sometimes it's because they do something they shouldn't (this happens a lot in Youth Ministry... Go figure), sometimes it's because it's a bad fit for them and their giftedness, sometimes it's because they just can't do the job. For instance, what if your welcome team has someone on it who never smiles and insults people as they come in?...

An extreme example, I know, but what happens when you have to let this person know you need to re-direct them into something else. Or say it’s a person who serves in Children’s ministry who just can’t connect with the kids, or even frightens them. Or perhaps it’s someone who just doesn’t get what your church’s mission and vision are, and they do more grumbling than serving.

The most difficult thing for me is creative artistic people, especially singers/worship leaders. (I’ve had some recent experience with this, as we re-aligned our worship teams, and I’m still wading through the fallout on this.) This is the one ministry in our church where easily three times as many people want to participate regularly than I can handle, and some of those people just can’t do it in the way that we have, with God’s guidance, concluded it should be done in our environment (This is a small number, I’d estimate less than one-third of those interested). Others are competent and dedicated, but just not up to the level of some others, who need to be used in this area of their giftedness.

Add to that that artists and singers and creative types tend more than others to integrate their whole value as a person with the thing they do (sing, play, act, draw, paint...) and you have a recipe for ministry nightmares.


Too often in the church we are trying to merely put warm bodies in open slots, because of the ministry needs. But when we do that, it doesn't serve the church well. Not only that, it also doesn't help the person who is serving in that position.

In order for a person to serve effectively all of these ingredients must be in place. If any of these are missing, then it isn't a good fit for that person.

Passion - Are they passionate or are they merely serving out of obligation?

Giftedness - Are they operating out of their spiritual gift mix.

Abilities - Do they have the necessary competencies. This is an issue that relates to experience. Some responsibilities can be trained. But with some other responsibilities, you need them to walk in with a certain amount of core compentecies.

Do your best to make sure you are placing people in positions and with serving opportunities that are good fits, otherwise you doing not only your ministry a disservice but your volunteers a disservice as well. Fire your volunteers if they are not serving in the right place...but then help them to find a place to serve where they will blossom, grow and be blessed.


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