Thursday, June 20, 2013

Treasure Your Volunteers . . . What If You Have to "Remove" a Volunteer?

We all want to be people who treasure our volunteers, but what do we do if we need to "remove" a volunteer from the children's ministry? This is a very, very difficult situation to find yourself in. Removing a volunteer may result in them feeling hurt, rejected and unwanted . . . they will likely leave your church and be "scarred" from the experience. Removing a volunteer should be avoided if at all possible, but if you must, what should you do to cause as little damage as possible? Consider the following . . . 
  • The first thing to consider is how did you start with this volunteer? Did you screen them? Did you check with references? Did you spend any time talking with them to try and determine if they would be a good "fit" with your children's ministry? Or, were you just so happy to have a volunteer you put them in a class and only later discovered they might not be a good "fit"? If you want to avoid having to "remove" a volunteer, start at the beginning and screen potential volunteers - and do a thorough job of screening them.
  • Have you prayed about this? I mean, really prayed? NEVER remove any volunteer without truly seeking God first - unless it is about an issue of child safety.
So, if you are facing the potential "removal" of a volunteer, ask yourself the following questions -
  • Why do I think I need to "remove" this volunteer? Have others been complaining about something? If so, is it possible "church politics" is an influence in this situation? Be absolutely certain to verify any complaints you hear. Follow the Biblical steps first . . . if someone is complaining about another volunteer, ask them if they have shared their concerns with the volunteer. Give the volunteer the opportunity to share their perspective on the situation. Do NOT listen to gossip. EVER. Do NOT make any decision based on gossip.
  • Have I provided sufficient training? Might this volunteer be a "better" volunteer if they received training, or possibly mentoring from an experienced volunteer? Do not move quickly to "remove" a volunteer if better training might help you end up with an excellent volunteer.
  • Have I talked with this volunteer to see how they are feeling about the ministry? Maybe they are frustrated. Maybe they feel "in over their heads". Talk with them and see if you are able to find a solution while not causing damage to the volunteer.
Obviously, if the concerns involve any child safety issues, you must act quickly and you must be sure you have your facts straight, but if it isn't a child safety issue, while you still need to have your facts straight, you also have to be concerned about the effect being "removed" from your children's ministry will have on the volunteer. Your children's ministry must be a safe place for children, but it also must be a safe place for volunteers to serve. 

Part of treasuring your volunteers is shown in the way you "remove" a volunteer. If the "fit" just wasn't right, and it isn't a child safety issue, let the volunteer know you treasure them. Find out what they really enjoy doing and see if you are able to find a different place for them to serve . . . one which is a better "fit" for them and one where they are able to serve with joy!

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