Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Caution: Do No Harm

Yesterday I wrote about how to keep from harming a volunteer. It is so important for us to be aware of and thinking about how our words and actions impact those who volunteer in our ministries. While in the majority of cases, those who serve in ministry would never intentionally harm a volunteer, it does happen. People who serve in Children's Ministry are harmed by the words and/or actions of staff. When this happens the damage can truly destroy . . . destroy their sense of worth, destroy their ability to trust and destroy their view of God. Let's think about each of these . . . 
  • 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.
I'm sure most of us would agree, we do not ever want to cause this type of damage to anyone; especially to someone who was willing to volunteer their time by serving in our Children's Ministries. Yes, there may be times when we have to talk with a volunteer about an attitude they have which harms the ministry, but we need to focus on the value the person has and how we want to help them find another area to serve where they will find and experience joy.

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.
I'm sure there are more ways volunteers might be harmed, but the point is, we need to be absolutely certain when we serve in a leadership position in the Children's Ministry, we do not do anything to harm a volunteer.

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.

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