Most people don’t like confrontation. We don’t want to have a confrontational conversation. Confrontation doesn’t have to be a negative it can be positive and have positive results. In fact if someone who was once active in serving in ministry starts to be hit and miss or drops out of serving all together that is a red flag that something is happening in their lives and we should want to reach out to them. 

If you have been leading ministry volunteers for any length of time you have experienced a volunteer who becomes undependable. They start having excuses each week it seems, they seem to get “sick” a lot or “had a really busy week” . . . . every week. These are the red flags that something is wrong. We have to see past the smoke screens and look for the reason behind the excuses.

Steps to having “the talk” with a once active volunteer:

Set up a time to have a conversation. In a situation such as this texting is not a good place to have the conversation. Email or private message on Facebook isn’t the place to have the conversation. It is best to meet face to face. When we meet face to face is shows we care enough to take some time to help, we can read expressions and hear the tone of their voice. It is also easier for me to avoid the conversation or blow a smoke screen via text than it is face to face.

Peel back the layers. Simply say something like, “I’ve noticed you used to look forward to serving each Sunday but lately you have become very hit and miss. I’m concerned for you. Why have you stopped serving?” 

Listen to their excuses/reasons. Give the volunteer time to vent, unload, express what is causing their lack of joy in ministry.

Ask probing questions. “Why do you think your life is so busy?” “Why would you choose to free up your scheduling by not serving Christ and His church?” “How can I help you get back to using your spiritual gift in ministry?”

Remind the volunteer that God has shaped every believer so that we can serve one another. Remind the volunteer that if we can’t be spiritually healthy or growing in our faith if we aren’t using our spiritual gift. 

Offer help. If the volunteer no longer enjoys the ministry team they were part of then offer to help them find a new ministry that would bring them joy and best utilize their shape.

Wrap up the conversation with prayer. Pray for the volunteer. Pray for the church together.  It makes a difference when the volunteer realizes we aren’t just trying to fill a spot in ministry but that we are truly concerned for their spiritual health.