Volunteer Fatigue

I’m a football fan, I really love football! As I watched the end of the NFL season I found it very interesting to hear all the changes some of the teams were making. I live close to Cleveland and the Browns are one of those teams where major changes are happening….AGAIN! Over the past few years this team has suffered so many loses I don’t know how they get season ticket holders. I mean these people are the definition of “long-suffering.”

The team had another terrible season and within hours of the final games end, it was announced that the GM and Coach were fired and that the great hope himself (sarcasm intended) Johnny football would most likely be seeing a new team (If anyone wants him) But that isn’t what I want to focus on in this post. What I learned was that with all these changes over the past few years, 3 coaches, a dozen quarterbacks, a few GM’s and now it begins all over again, and the fans are fatigued.

I heard an interview with a long time offensive lineman, who demonstrated the fatigue the whole fan base is feeling. They know the more change, brings new systems, new plays, new logos, new everything and with it a new fatigue sets in. So is it the change that brings fatigue? I don’t think so.

What brings fatigue is change without vision and clear strategy.  The new replayed the President/owner’s past 3 press conferences where the announcement of the firings. They all sounded the same. (NO VISION/ NO PLAN=FATIGUE!)

As I look at churches all over the country I’ve heard from those in ministry that their volunteers are tired or burned out. Why? Why does this happen with so many people who know that without vision or strategy people will become fatigued and burned out?

Why when everyone seems to use the words vision, strategy, plans, all the time in ministry circles?

Here is a simple observation. The leaders are not listening to the volunteers, communicating the vision and plan, and getting buy in from the volunteers. They often bring the changes too fast and without establishing true buy in from the team.

A second observation: The plans that are laid out are not carried out or completed. Yes, I know some plans need to be and should be tweaked from time to time. But what creates fatigue in volunteers is the constant, “new ideas” that are brought forward by excited leaders who let the vision drop, or the priorities change far too often and they expect the volunteers to rally every time this happens.

So what do we do to fix this and prevent fatigue in the church.

  1. Set the clear vision/plan and maintain consistent accountability to making sure it is done.
  2. As you clarify and tweak the vision/plan, make sure you renew the commitment to the vision/plan with the team.
  3. Get consistent feedback from the team and make sure they are still committed to vision/plan.
  4. Keep it clear, concise, visible and alive with the team.

 

Have you and your team experienced fatigue? What have you done to heal from it and prevent it from happening again?

I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

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