Preventing church volunteer burnout [5 tips]

Preventing church volunteer burnout is critical to the effectiveness of your ministry and the health of your team. We asked the church tech directors we know for their top tip for preventing burnout. Check out each tech director’s top tip to preventing church volunteer burnout below. 

1. Everyone needs a Sabbath. Make sure they don’t get booked for every Sunday or other events!

When life is moving quickly, it’s easy to forget that your church tech volunteers are just that. Volunteers. While this is your day job, it is their moment to serve. While volunteers start out excited to serve their church, they can quickly burnout.

  • Size
    • If you have a large pool of volunteers, you can space out their serving time better. Now, this tip can feel like a paradox. If you only have a few volunteers, how can you space them out to prevent burnout? Even worse, if you can’t space out the volunteers you do have, you run the risk of volunteers quitting and thus shrinking the size of your team even more. Make sure you are continuously recruiting volunteers so you have the ability to space out their service. 
  • Scheduling
    • Once your team is large enough, you can look at the calendar each month and make sure you are spacing them out well. If you’re keeping an eye on on the future, you’ll be able to space out and schedule everyone evenly. 

2. Show them the value of their involvement as often as possible. 

Connecting your volunteers efforts to their impact is a sure fire way to energize them and keep them engaged. We can lose sight of why we do things when we are only focused on Sunday’s service going well.

  • You aren’t mindlessly clicking a slide, you’re giving the pastor what he needs to keep the congregation engaged. 
  • They aren’t ‘just’ switching slides for worship, you’re giving new members the words to sing to the Lord. 
  • You aren’t ‘just pointing a camera’, you’re making service available to people who couldn’t be at church today.

This isn’t a practice you’ll need to do every week. In fact, it could feel a little big cheesy if you did. But make sure each volunteer is getting a reminder of this each month so they are connecting their efforts connected to the impact of their service. Preventing church volunteer burnout isn’t complex or expensive. Sometimes all you need is to give some appreciation.

Preventing church volunteer burnout by being in the trenches with your volunteers

3. Make sure they see you being one of them. Don’t treat them like “servants”… get your hands dirty as well.

Showing your team that you’re one of them and in the trenches with them is crucial. It can be easy to forget because Tech Directors tend to be really humble people but your volunteers see you through an important lens. You’re their leader and the church technology expert! With that in mind, it’s important to show them how you’re there for them.  

“The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.” – General Colin Powell 

Getting in the trenches will teach your volunteers additional skills but even more importantly it’ll earn your church tech volunteers’ respect and loyalty. Preventing church volunteer burnout via leadership is one of our favorite tips in this list.

4. Rotation and Engagement are key to preventing church volunteer burnout

If you’ve ever watched NFL football you’ve seen how teams will typically have a “change of pace” running back. The reason teams have multiple running backs is that the job can be grueling and your running back will be toast after an entire game. 

This is an important concept to carry over to our church tech volunteers as well. If a volunteer is working every Sunday or even every other Sunday, They may burn out quickly. Keeping a church tech volunteer energized and excited is much easier than finding, training and integrating a new volunteer. Give your volunteers a clear path to what their time on the team will be like. You’ll likely need to have them be there frequently as they are being trained an onboarded. After they are through that phase, let them know they won’t be expected to be there every Sunday.

5. Celebrate the wins to prevent church volunteer burnout

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

-Ferris Bueller

There is some wisdom to Ferris Bueller’s comment above. When the service ends and the congregation starts to walk out, make sure to pat some backs and give some high fives. If someone saved a snag from becoming a larger issue, make sure to say so. If nothing went wrong and it was a normal service, great! Make sure to tell one of your volunteers that.

Celebrating a win is also a great way to start off a Sunday. If your church tech volunteers are gathered for the start of service, let them know of a win your team or team member had last week. This will give everyone a boost and will go a long way to preventing church volunteer burnout. Volunteers run on morale. If they’re enjoying their time there, they’ll continue to serve. Celebrating wins is the quickest way to energize morale. If you’re unsure if your volunteers are burning out, check out this Life Way article on spotting burnout.

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