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Dealing With Ministry Fatigue

Joan is one of those faithful volunteers that every church would want. She has a great attitude, is enthusiastic about the church’s mission and direction, is responsible and fun. Joan is also ready to quit.


Joan is not alone, but represents people in churches everywhere.

Team fatigue and volunteer burnout is often a result of these conditions:

No team covenant. A covenant allows for open communication and serves as a guideline for team expectations. A good covenant outlines how the team will work together, make decisions, and deal with conflict. Every healthy team needs a covenant that the team creates and agrees upon together.

Undefined term of service. Joan’s ministry description may not have designated a term limit and a definite time period for her service. Often volunteers feel trapped on teams, not knowing when their service is complete and sensing that the only way out is to quit. Joan may need a season of rest from all service—not just this team. A healthy ministry will be as interested in giving Joan a break from service as they were in finding a spot for her to serve.

Little or no recognition. It’s easy to overlook dedicated, serving volunteers by assuming that they neither need nor desire recognition. Every volunteer deserves recognition that is personal, authentic, and frequent. Joan’s church leadership team may not have provided ample opportunities for reflection for Joan to connect her service with her faith journey.

The wrong fit. Joan may be a member of a team that’s not a good fit for her because there wasn’t an intentional process for discovery, matching, and placement. The spiritual gift mix of the members may be complementary and look good on paper, but we can often overlook the importance of personal chemistry and behavioral style in developing teams.

Task over relationship. Many ministry teams focus only on task and fail to see the importance of building friendships. If teams are only concerned with their agenda and getting the work done, team fatigue can be expected. When a team spends time doing intentional community-building and learning to care for one another as individuals, team fatigue can be minimized.

Do you have a Joan in your church? Check the well-being of your ministry teams and see if changes are needed. It may help refresh the people like Joan for a new season of serving.

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Dealing With Ministry Fatigue

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