The Key To Keeping Ministers

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What would be the ideal number of ministers in your ministry?  I’m willing to bet you have an answer; however, if that number would come along you would find that you have not enough or too many to handle.  It’s hard to say what that perfect number is; however, if you do not set a goal you will always have trouble recruiting and maintaining volunteers.
For many of us reaching that number seems unachievable, because there seems to be constant turnover.  You have someone commit for the year; however, they leave after 3-6 months.  Maybe they do complete the year; however, it feels like they are reluctant to commit for another year.  You try everything from incentives to promises; yet, they still leave.  WHY?
If you want to keep your ministers, you need to:

  • INVEST IN THEM: Now you don’t have to wine and dine them (although they may like it); however, take the time to get to know them, their family, their likes and dislikes.  Find out what they like and learn more about it.  If you care about them, they’ll care about the ministry because they’ll see that it matters to you.
  • DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Whether your ideal number of ministers is 10 or 100 you can’t love and pour into them equally.  What you need to do is invest in a few leaders who will then invest in a few ministers.  The goal is not for you to directly care for your entire team, it’s for the entire team to receive direct care.  
  • LEAD WITH AUTHENTICITY:  You want to show off to them or prove that you can handle any challenge.  Truth is they don’t need a superhero, just someone who’s got the same passion.  An authentic leader is an attractive leader.  Share with them your pitfalls, mistakes and frustrations and they’ll trust you.
  • TAKE THE HEAT:  When a teen is misbehaving or a parent is frustrated at your small group leaders or point people, you need to lean into the conflict with them.  Your team will go into battle with you if they know that you are willing to go into battle for them.  It’s not about protecting them (especially if they are wrong), it’s about walking with them and helping them focus on Christ.
  • CELEBRATE THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS: Yes, it’s God working through them; however, much of what they accomplish is done with their gifts and talents.  No matter what the reason, celebrate the wins and accomplishments of the individuals on your team.
  • CLEARLY AND CONSISTENTLY COMMUNICATE: Never assume they know it all or heard you the first time.  A leader needs to embrace the role of the broken record that shows great love and patience.  Any chance you can to cast vision or care is a piece of trust and love you put in their bank.

Is there a fool proof way of keeping your ministers forever?  No.  But, there is a lot we can do to bring longevity and reduce turnover.  Again, ministry is a relationship.  If you treat them like indentured servants they’ll leave you when their debt is paid.  If you treat them like family, friends and the church, they’ll stick around.

What do you do to keep your ministers around?