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How To Lose Your Volunteers in 25 Days

Christiaan VandenHeuvel

Day 12:
Give volunteers no true responsibilities.
The more responsibility you give volunteers, the more likely they'll take ownership of the ministry. Confine them to a limited area of responsibility and nip in the bud any sprouts of leadership potential. Don't listen to your volunteers' ideas about your ministry. If they don't take the hint, directly let your team know you're not interested in their feedback.

Day 13:
Make volunteers serve alone.
Volunteers want community, not just tasks. If you want to get rid of them, force them into Lone-Rangerhood. If a volunteer approaches you to express a need for help, tell him or her to buck up.

Day 14:
Don't provide training.
Assume that everyone who somehow makes it into your ministry is pre-trained to be a great children's minister and should already know what he or she is doing. If you feel sympathetic, send a link to a quick three-minute "training video" that lets them know how easy their ministry will be or should feel. If you're pressured into providing training events, focus all your attention on the cursory how-to's and blitz them with Pointless Information Overload. Reading the volunteer handbook out loud is a privately hilarious and super effective way to ensure none of your volunteers will attend another training event.

Day 15:
Talk down, patronize, belittle.
Saturate all your communication with the message that volunteers' ministry is just to children. Let them know their ministry is essentially babysitting and that most of their efforts won't matter in the long run. Minimize any supposed spiritual progress that children in their care make. Remind them often that they're mere volunteers. You, after all, are the professional. You're the expert. Publicly correct, patronize, and re-educate your volunteers-in front of other volunteers, naturally, but especially in front of parents.

Day 16:
Take the parents' side no matter what.
Your volunteers must know that, like the customer, parents are always right-even when they're wrong. Remember: Since you don't provide volunteers with training, parents are probably spot-on when it comes to observing the poor quality of teaching. Let your new mantra be (always within earshot of your volunteers): "Well, I guess you get what you pay for!"

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