Dr Thom Ranier recently wrote “Five Common Reasons Church Members Burnout”.
- The church does not have clear purposes or vision. Many times the busyness of church life is not the problem; it is the lack of clarity of the vision of the church. Give church members a clear “why” to the ministry they do, and many will never grow weary of the work.
- The church has certain activities because “we’ve always done it that way before.” Few things lead to burnout more quickly than asking a member to be a part of something that has ceased to be useful to the church. “I was on a committee that met every month,” one church member told me. “But our committee never accomplished anything. If the committee disappeared tomorrow, very few people would notice.”
- Too few members doing most of the ministry. This issue is both a symptom and a cause. In most established churches, about 90 percent of the ministry is done by one-third of the members.
- The church does not celebrate enough. Celebrations are great motivators to continue the labor and ministry. They remind us of God’s provisions and His victories working through us.
- The church has no clear expectations of membership. In most of our churches, we expect little or nothing of our members, and that is exactly what we get. It is imperative for churches to have a new members’ class or entry point class that provides both information and expectations.
The five reasons listed by Dr. Ranier are a good starting place but the next four reasons will call on your Church to focus on the real purpose of being called a Christian – “Doing Ministry”. The Great Commission was not given to the church or any one church and it was definitely not given to any one organization… It was given to the followers of Christ. Jesus intended his commission to call to his followers and to empower them to go into the world and make a difference and make disciples.
The Church has actually never made a disciple; instead, it has been the People in the Church.
If we believe, it is people that do ministry and not the Church we need to address members.
Why do members get burned out?
1. Members have either not received a “Call” to a ministry or have not followed through on the call they have received. If you talk to people who are not serving in any ministry position in your church the common answer for “Why are you not serving?” is “I don’t know what to do,” or “no one has asked me to serve.” Unfortunately, most Pastors and Ministers do not know what you are called to either.
2. Members burn out because they either do not believe in, or have a passion for, the ministry or task they are performing in your church. As the Church, the organization, we have a responsibility to lead members into using the passions they have in serving God. Why did Jesus tell Peter, James and John that he wanted to make them fishers of men? Because they loved fishing, they were passionate about it. Notice that Jesus never called any of his disciples to do ministry that they were not passionate about or in which they were not skilled.
3. Give people freedom to minister. Too often, I find people doing the work the Pastor or Missions committee believes in but the church body does not share the same level of commitment. Why is that? Is it lack of leadership or a desire for too much control? Should we be afraid of letting our members do the ministry to which they have been called? When Jesus sent the 72 disciples out in Luke 10 he did not limit them in any way. He taught them and then empowered them to do ministry. He trusted them to do what the Spirit led them to do.
4. People get burned out and drop out when they are serving in a ministry for which they are poorly prepared. Have you had the experience of getting people to fill a slot because you have to have so many people on a committee or in a ministry role but knowing they did not have any skills or desire necessary to be successful in that ministry position? If you have been in ministry long, you must have seen this in your churches.
Dr. Ranier is correct when he points out that some churches need to get rid of outdated programs or ministries that no longer are viable. With such limited resources, the Church must define itself and pour resources into productive efforts and ministries.
So how do we find the workers to carry out these ministries? The answer if not as hard as we try to make it. Business has known for a long time your best employees are those that believe in the product or service they make or sell and have a passion for what they build, sell or produce. Employees that are informed of the goals of the company and the benefit for reaching that goal are also the best producing employees and finally, employees that are trained or have a history in the area of work are also the best employees.
So the question is, why don’t we learn these lessons and apply them to the work of ministry?
Some churches have tried to use Spiritual Gifts Inventories to give members a look into their spiritual makeup and help them as they seek out ministry opportunities. Many churches find these frustrating because after the assessment there is no means of guiding a person to a ministry that matches their gifts.
Passions inventories are much the same. Either the passions are too limited and do not truly reflect the person and the life issues about which they are truly passionate.
Can you name the people in your church that are passionate about Facebook, Twitter or Linked in? How would you use these passions in performing ministry and missions? Who is passionate about cooking, writing, singing, sewing or any other activity that are people engage themselves? Again, the traditional assessments do not measure these passions or assist the Pastor or Church in guiding people to a real ministry opportunity.
New software can now be utilized by the church organization that provides insight and guidance for church ministers to help members find an appropriate area of service.
AIM can identify a person’s Passions from a list of 202 unique activities http://aiministry.com/passions
Spiritual Gifts Inventories based on 7, 9, 16, 20 or 23 gifts (your choice) http://aiministry.com/spiritual-gifts-definitions
156 Skills in 9 categories clearly identify what your church member know and how they work in your organization. http://aiministry.com/skills-definitions
291 Vocations and job history complete the assessments. http://aiministry.com/vocation
The most exciting feature of this software is the ability to generate a Ministry Profile that actually searched a database of 275 ministry opportunities and determines the best matches for an individual.
Now, does this mean you have to have all these ministries? NO! But, you now have a tool that gives you tremendous insight into your members and what they are Equipped for, Skilled in, Passionate about and Gifted. This has never been available before but churches that can define their mission and equip their opportunities with members that are Skilled, Passionate, Gifted and prepared through past vocations, will see volunteers that will have fewer people dropping out due to burn out.
For more information visit http://aiministry.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org