- When our words/actions harm a volunteer - especially if it was because we asked them to serve in another area of ministry - they may feel like they are unwanted - even as a volunteer in an area where they know the church struggles to find enough people to serve. This can cause a great deal of harm to how they see and value their own selves.
- When a volunteer is harmed, they may find themselves no longer able to trust staff at a church - any church. Many a person who once served in their church as a volunteer end up leaving the church when they are hurt. Some never return.
- If they were harmed in a church, they may stop trusting God.
And, because sadly I do know of instances where staff in churches harmed volunteers with no regard to the damage they caused; be aware . . . if we harm volunteers, God does see and He does not look kindly on this kind of behavior.
How might we harm volunteers? Consider the following . . .
- As I've been writing about, if we are not careful when we need to move a volunteer to a different area of ministry.
- If we gossip about them. This includes any and all gossip.
- If we do not do what we tell them we will do.
- If we push them aside without a thought to how they will feel.
- If we ignore their requests to talk with us.
And if and when we do, we must do everything we can to restore our relationship with them and make right the damage however we can. It is not enough to just say we are "sorry". Our actions must back up our words.