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How To Lose Your Volunteers in 25 Days

Christiaan VandenHeuvel

Day 22:
Let the pastor go 20 minutes over every other week.
Trick your volunteers by going from room to room to announce that you spoke with the pastor and today the service will end on time. This will discourage even your experienced-but-proactive volunteers who had planned extra activities "just in case." Don't encourage parents to pick up their children promptly after the service ends-but do provide several fellowship opportunities after the service. Let parents know your volunteers won't mind watching their kids while they catch up with friends over doughnuts and coffee.

Day 23:
Give them junior assistants aplenty.
There's no better way to make it look like you're supporting your volunteers, when in reality you're annoying them to no end. Junior assistants (especially 6th through 8th graders without any training) create added work and provide for an exhausting morning for your adult volunteers. It's almost like secretly adding extra kids to their room.

Day 24:
Set up a schedule that makes it clear your volunteers will never attend an adult service again.
This works especially well in churches that only provide one adult worship service a week. Schedule your volunteers to serve every week without a break, and harp often about how one hour per week really is the minimum investment a volunteer can make in a child's life.

Day 25:
Capitalize on discouragements and cynicism.
Require volunteers to pay you for a CD copy of the sermon. Don't give your volunteers time off-ever. Don't replace burnt-out light bulbs in their rooms. Stick them in the smelliest, darkest, most cluttered basement room you can find. Let them know every week that you don't value them or what they do…and in no time you'll lose every volunteer who brightens your doorstep.

Day 26:
Celebrate by spending a few hours at Starbucks, buying yourself a fancy drink, and updating your LinkedIn profile and résumé. Trust me, you'll need it.

Christiaan VandenHeuvel is the executive team leader for children and students at his church in Livermore, California.

This article is excerpted from Children's Ministry Magazine. Subscribe today!

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