Sometimes a coaching call is a one-and-done.
Other times there are a few follow up conversations.
My most recent coaching call caused me not only to pause, but to slam the brakes.
With every sentence, it was like peeling back layers.
There were so many layers.
One thing that struck out was their desire to remain anonymous. The exact quote was, “I don’t want my pastor or church to look bad. I don’t want my pastor to feel guilty.”
Friend, don’t try to be a hero. You’re not. Jesus is. You’re not. Your pastor should feel guilty for not seeing this. What kind of rock is he living under?
Okay – you definitely need some support and I think this is an important story to share, so let’s think about how I can help you.
There are a few different Facebook groups that allow people to post anonymously.
But won’t someone know who I am?
Yes, usually an admin or moderator.
Oh – I don’t think I want anyone to know.
But YOU need to know you’re not alone. Even if you feel alone in your own church, there are communities of people who can walk you through this. Need I remind you, that you contacted me through one of those communities?
And then the ask: Can you post anonymously on my behalf?
I’m not sure that’s wise.
Because this isn’t my story. We’re very similar, and I’ve walked this path. But this one is not my story.
But also – I don’t want to help you through this alone. Quite frankly, I need help, so give me a minute to think [pray]. And so in a few Facebook groups, I shared their story.
The response was overwhelming supportive.
But let’s rewind: “I don’t want my pastor or church to look bad. I don’t want my pastor to feel guilty.”
I thought back to something a friend posted a few months ago:
We must do a better job serving our teams and staff. I have another week of creatives telling me they are leaving their church position because of the leadership they are under. They are overworked, underappreciated and not heard or understood. They LOVE the church and want to keep serving the church but are burnt out.
Sadly I have a list of similar stories and one I have experienced myself.
This is not a expose to bring down but to bring a pain point that church staff does not feel like they have the ability to bring to their leaders.
What do you think we, as The Church, could do better to change this pattern? 👇👇
So – what can we do better to change this pattern? (I’ve addressed all of this in my previous post, but if you’re still not doing it, read it again.)
When scheduling volunteers – do not schedule people every week. Even your highest capacity leaders should not serve every week.
Promote teams from your platform during service. Don’t promote serving in general. Spend some time promoting specific teams. It’s VBS season. When was the last time you purposely gave a shout to your kids’ ministry?
Honor some of your volunteers during service. This one is personally a tough one for me. I don’t want to be recognized for something I’m supposed to be doing. Jesus has already died for me. My service is out of obedience to Him, not for recognition from my church. But – I do know this is a driving motivator for some people. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’ve started a Volunteer of the Week social media post at my church. It’s helping to bring awareness to teams.
Give your highest capacity volunteers a church email. If you’re using a free email client or GSuite for non-profits, this won’t cost you a thing, but will give them some credibility in your church.
Put your highest capacity volunteers on your website. You may have a Children’s Director listed on your staff page, but if you’ve got service coaches or volunteer ministry assistant leaders, list them on an appropriate page. Again, this won’t cost you a thing, but can go a long way in helping a volunteer feel like what they’re doing matters.
Schedule a dinner with a volunteer in your ministry. Get to know them outside of church.
Don’t stack the schedule. Some volunteers (and even some staff members) can’t take the thought of another church event. Time away may be more valuable than time in.
Have a no fear policy. Volunteers and staff should feel like they can approach their Pastoral staff (supervisors/bosses) without fear of being fired or told they need to press in and trust Jesus. A high capacity volunteer or church staff member already knows that yet, burnout is real.
Listen, but don’t let go. A high capacity volunteer may need a few days off, but not out of the ministry permanently. The arm doesn’t always need amputated. Sometimes it just needs put in a sling or a cast and given time to heal.
Share your own story. Too many people are on the edge of burnout in silence and feel alone. Hearing your story could help someone who needs to hear it.
Enforce Sundays off. Entire Sundays. Social Media posts can be pre-scheduled. Other volunteers can be trained. Enforce Sundays off. Be mean about it.
Invest in your weakest teams. Healthy teams grow. People sign up to serve. People show up to serve. If you’ve got an unhealthy team, everyone has to work together to help it grow. Think about a hospital. The healthiest patients, need the least care. The most unhealthy, need life support. If you don’t invest in an unhealthy team’s growth, it will die.
Help me peel back some layers. How do you think churches can do better?