Avoid “Boredom Burnout” with Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any children’s ministry.  Without them, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish a fraction of what we do with a thriving team. Follow these 8 simple steps to keep your volunteers from Boredom Burnout.

Boredom Burnout happens when a volunteer is placed in a position with no consideration of their spiritual gifts, passions, experiences, personality or goals.  It usually happens when a leader gives away the boring, lackluster tasks that need to get done and keeps all of the important, fulfilling, exciting jobs for themselves.

How do you avoid boredom burnout with your volunteers?

1. Allow your volunteers to participate in relevant, stimulating, fulfilling, and challenging work.

2. Delegate more than brainless, mindless work.  The excitement is not in the task, but in the results.  Give volunteers an opportunity to create results.

3. Periodically move your volunteers around to keep them challenged and fulfilled.

  • Promote those doing well.
  • Allow volunteers to coordinate and lead key pieces of ministry.
  • Let your volunteers try new things.
  • Allow them to take time off.

4. Ask your volunteers to let you know when they feel bored or need a new challenge.

5. Keep short accounts and get feedback concerning:

  • Results: Do they know they are making a difference?  Most volunteers don’t hear about the positive things happening.  Communicate what God is doing through their service.
  • Fulfillment: Are they fulfilled in their current position? Those serving in the right place, the place God has equipped and called them to serve in, will experience greater fulfillment in their service. No fulfillment equals, eventual Boredom Burnout.
  • Expectations: Do their expectations for what they are doing meet what they are actually doing?  The closer expectations and reality align, the better chance of avoiding boredom burnout.
  • Growth: Are they being stretched? As people mature in their faith they become capable of leading and doing more.  Look for opportunities to allow volunteers to continue to be stretched.  Provide resources to help them grow in spiritual disciplines that can later be used in service.

6. Organize the work so that everyone feels essential to a goal they believe in.  Make sure every volunteer knows what they do plays a part in a bigger plan.  That when the nursery is successful, the entire children’s ministry is more successful.  That when the check in area runs smooth, it sets all other ministries to run smoother.

7. Allow volunteers to direct and manage significant parts of your ministry.  A person doesn’t need to get paid to direct or manage ministry.  By giving significant parts of the ministry away you free yourself up to do the ministry that only you can do.

8. Be strategic in volunteer placement.  Identify what is unique about each volunteer and pair them with the right position for their uniqueness.  More about volunteer placement can be found in the post, “Strategic Volunteer Placement”.

How do you keep your volunteers from “Boredom Burnout?” What do you do to keep your volunteers engaged and stimulated? Share your comments below.

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

Andrew is the Executive Pastor at Community Church in Eastern PA.

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