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Home » Church Leadership

“You Aren’t Serving Enough”

Submitted by James Higginbotham on September 5, 2006 – 6:10 pm6 Comments

I never thought I’d ever hear that a staff member would say these words: “You Aren’t Serving Enough”. Unfortunately, I did. A staff member told a team of people that were giving between 10 and 15 hours a week of their time to service at a church that they needed to serve more. Not “more effectively”, or “serve in a different way as to reach more people”, or even “help us find people to minister to those in need”. No, they were told that they need to do even more.

Do you think this is a healthy way to build the church body? I don’t. No wonder volunteers are burned out.

[tags]volunteer management, volunteer burnout, church leadership[/tags]

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  • Sounds like a staff member who is frustrated because something is not getting done but does not know how to go about coming to a solution. Maybe they should read your blog. Definitely not the way to approach those that are serving when it is so hard to get people to serve in the first place.

    BTW thanks for the plug earlier in the week.

  • As a volunteer myself ( media tech team leader) as one that often feels overworked. I do know what I would have told that staff member becuase I have had to do it before. I am dedicated to my lord and savior and not that that church body. I am lucky to live in Atlanta where are many great Churches full of great people of God but with that comes a price. Many people working in churches today are doing so for a job and career and are not to serve the Lord.

  • Ryan says:

    That’s tough. I still even struggle with what I was told. I am a part time employee (20 hrs/wk) and struggling to convince the church that it would be beneficial to hire me full time. Instead of giving me a few more hours, the council told me that I can only work up to 20 hours and that I need to volunteer more. That hurt. I can’t even imagine how much more it would hurt to be a volunteer and hear that you need to volunteer more.

  • Conrad says:

    I can’t see a way that could be right. If they are lay people, not clergy, then they set their level of involvement.

    Worse than that is when clergy are asked to give too much of their lives to a ministry.

    This is a clear recipe for burnout.

  • Peter Schott says:

    Seen that before. Pretty sad. Ours was more of a guilt session than anything else, though. I don’t understand why people feel a need to do that rather than sharing a vision of everything the ministry could/will be and getting people excited and (dare I say it?) eager to serve. I know that when the guilt trip comes down that way I am less motivated to serve than ever, even if it’s something I’m already doing. To tell this to people already serving is asking for your ministry to lose volunteers.

    I still remember the words of one of my prior pastors. He said that God won’t give us more to do than we can handle and He definitely won’t give us so much to do for the local body that our family, private worship, or witness is hurt by this. If you’re doing that much, you need to step down to figure out what you’re supposed to do. Either someone will pick up where you left off or the ministry will be put on hold until you’re refreshed. Burn-out is a pretty poor witness.

    -Pete Schott

  • James says:


    Sounds like you had a wise pastor in your history. I was amazed when I heard that this happened – I’m sad that they didn’t tell this to me directly, otherwise I could have engaged in a better discussion with them and probed further about why they said this.


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