How’s the morale of your team? How are staff and volunteers doing? In my experience, this is one of those times of the year where staff and volunteers can feel kind of “blah.” The regular ministry season is wrapping up and it’s time to recruit again. There isn’t a big thing like fall ministry launch, Christmas or Easter coming. It just kind of feels like the grind. Or, maybe your church is struggling a bit and people are feeling discouraged.
An important question to ask right now is, how do we re-energize our people? How do we encourage them to re-up and stay engaged, bringing their best to their ministry? These are always important questions, but perhaps more crucial right now. Here are a few strategies that have worked well for me and ministries I’ve been a part of in the past.
You know that famous scripture from the KJV,
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18)
Without a clear and compelling “why,” people lose focus and energy. Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your staff and volunteers when they are weary is to remind them of why we do what we do. When volunteers and staff are tired or discouraged, creatively remind them of the vision.
We were designed for connection. We are made in the image of God, who is relational by nature. Sometimes when staff or volunteers are tired or discouraged, the best thing we can do for them is to spend time with them and listen to them. A meaningful and encouraging conversation over a cup of coffee can go a long way with a discouraged staff or volunteer. Focus on relationship.
Sabbath was built into the fabric of creation. When staff and volunteers are feeling weary or discouraged, rest is often what is needed. Consider giving your people some time off. There can be power in telling someone, “Take a week off. We’ll cover for you.”
Also, take a look at your serving schedules. Are they too rigorous? Will someone burn out after just a few months because the commitment is too heavy?
An unexpected financial bonus or gift card can really change your mood. If you have a discouraged and weary staff or volunteer, consider surprising them with a bonus, gift card or some other reward.
Everyone has different love languages, but I’m pretty sure money is universal.
One of the easiest and best ways to raise morale among a staff or volunteer team is to have fun together. When I was a Student Ministries Pastor, we always wrapped up our ministry season with a staff retreat. We spent part of that time strategizing and evaluating, but most of that time was devoted to having fun together.
That silly phrase is true. The team that plays together stays together. If your staff or volunteer team is weary and discouraged, schedule something fun to do together.
Great leadership not only involves setting clear direction and providing a strong leadership presence, it also requires paying close attention to the morale of your team. If your team is tired, discouraged or unfocused, I am hopeful that some of these strategies will help you re-energize your people.