Its that time of the year! When some of the volunteers that committed to serving this year, committed to leading a small group and investing in the lives of a student decide…. JUST KIDDING! That is probably a bit unfair to say, but it is pretty common time for volunteers to recognize a few months in that they might have bitten off more than they can chew and decide to step down from their role. As disapointing as it is, we need to quickly change our focus and try and recruit someone new to fill that role.
I can remember a time I was meeting with a youth worker who was in serious need of youth leaders after a few leaders on his already skeleton staff stepped down mid-season. He shared a very real feeling of desperation and a feeling is natural and reflected often in the Bible, through people like Moses or David in Psalm 142 amongst many others. Desperation is a part of ministry and I am thankful that I was able to encourage him, pray for him in his desperation as he asked God to bring him new leaders. He was not alone in the hunt the Church had his back, and Sunday after Sunday they announced the desperate need in the Youth Ministry for volunteers. Yet week after week no one stepped up and I have a feeling of why this might be the case.
When I think back to the days in high school when I was a single fella, and what woud I have done if a girl from my class announced that she was single. Not only was she single, she was desperate for a boyfriend, I mean DESPERATE for a boyfriend. Lets just say I would be running in the other direction. Desperation is not an attractive trait, and when I hear that a ministry is desperate for volunteers, my mind starts to wonder why? Is there dysfunction or unhealth? Why does no one want to serve? There are lot of questions that would go through my mind. I am convinced that people are more likely act on an opportunity to serve than to react to a desperate situation. Framing it in a positive light as a challenge and not a problem will be much more invitational because people take on challenges, they avoid problems.
The feelings of desperation are legit, having a complete reliance on God is essential, but be careful how you communicate your need. You want the right volunteer to feel called to serve that is a long term solution, not a plug in a hole in your ministry for a short season.
-Geoff – (Twitter)