Firing volunteers–not easy in the church!

Posted: February 28, 2013 by efenster in Ideas

Christ's bodyYesterday, I was with some pastors.  As we shared prayer concerns, one of them said that he had to “fire” a volunteer.  Another shared how he had removed a toxic parishioner from all ministries of the church and how he’s still working through that.  Their comments brought back unpleasant memories of when I had to ask a volunteer to no longer serve because their passive-aggressive behavior was harming themselves as well as others–including me!

Likely you too have dealt with such a situation.  Unfortunately we in the church tend to be nice and avoid conflict.  As a result, we tolerate unhealthy behavior that hurts people, the church, and ultimately its mission.  Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, says that an organization needs to get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.

I’ve found in the church that it’s fairly easy to get people on the bus, harder to get them to change seats, and really difficult to get people off.  Yet, as a leader, I know that’s what I need to do to help our organization carry out its mission.  The Apostle Paul talks about how we are like parts of a body.  Our job as leaders is to make sure the parts are healthy and that they’re in the right places.  Lord, help us to care enough for both the each part and the body, as a whole, to do just that–even when it’s unpleasant and not easy.

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development


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