You LOVE them...
You CHERISH them...
You NEED them...
Who are they? VOLUNTEERS! Need I say more?
There is no question that volunteers are the lifeline behind everything that we do in Children's Ministry. In fact, Getting and Keeping Volunteers continues to be one of the hottest topics for leaders in Children's Ministry today. But what about those volunteers we don't want to keep so much? The truth is just because someone signs up to serve in Children's Ministry doesn't mean they will be a good fit for your Children's Ministry and in the absence of healthy confrontation and quality control, you are bound to have a volunteer in your midst that has to go! Can you say AWKWARD!
As uncomfortable as it is, it is the leader's unpopular job to guard the ministry from individuals that would seek to do it more harm than good, even unintentionally. Children's Ministry should never be treated as a babysitting service that will accept anyone with a pulse. Rather, we must recognize it for what it is: The most fertile mission field in the world and protect it as such. So what type of volunteers need the boot in your ministry?
Volunteers that hurt more than help: These can be categorized as people who just don't listen. These people take advantage of the fact that you need them and do what they want to do regardless of any direction from you. Case in point, it's their way or they are threatening you with the highway. These people are drama filled and 9 times out of 10, always have a problem with the way you do things. Trust me. You're better off without them.
People who are there but clearly have no desire to serve in the children's ministry: Regardless of how these people found themselves serving in the ministry, they are simply there to fill a slot. They are unmotivated and unengaged and trust me, parents can spot them a mile away. Do you and them a favor. Put them out of their misery and let them go. They don't want to be there anyway.
People who are just bad examples: Remember, children learn not by what you say, but by what you do. Anyone who can teach the word well but has no conviction in living out that word has got to go. Anyone who is serving in children's ministry shouldn't necessarily be perfect by any means. With that said, volunteers should strive to live their lives above reproach. This is especially true for volunteers working with children. These digital natives are ALWAYS watching! For example, if your volunteer's social media account is littered with profanity, suggestive videos, or other questionable content, you may want to reconsider their role in Children's Ministry.
People who don’t honor or respect leadership. Don’t be so desperate to have volunteers that you allow a dishonorable person to serve in leadership. If you're not careful, getting caught up in their gossiping & backbiting could cost you your job. At the end of the day, if they can’t honor leadership, ultimately, they’re not going to honor you. Save yourself the trouble and let them go.
Historically in Children’s Ministry we are known to keep people around who hurt more than help because we need people. I get it. But the truth is, keeping people around who don't belong there will ultimately wreak unnecessary havoc on the ministry as a whole. Don't let that happen. Listen, releasing people isn't easy, especially if you struggle with confrontation. Remember, confrontation should always be motivated by a spirit of humility, truth, and love. Be prayerful. Pray for God's wisdom, humility, and compassion as you approach the conversation.
Releasing someone, especially someone who doesn't want to be released can lead to an emotionally-charged conversation. Do it the right way! Face to face if possible is best. Don't release someone through an email. Handling delicate situations poorly could jeopardize your reputation and cause those around you to question your character. Remember, timing is everything. Ideally you would select a time and venue that isn't prone to distraction or logistical complications. Depending on who you're dealing with, make sure the person is in an emotionally healthy state to have the conversation. Show an extreme amount of appreciation for all the volunteer has done. Focus on shared goals, areas of common ground, and hopes for your relationship in the future. Most importantly, be led by love even if people around you are not.
...And if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to, know that your heavenly assignment will carry with it some battle scars. It happens! Stay focused on the mission and press on in grace and love.