Ten Reasons High Capacity Team Members Leave Your Church
By: William Vanderbloemen March 6, 2012
Forbes Magazine published an article on why big businesses lose their most talented people. The parallels between corporations and churches missing out on great talent were strikingly similar.
- The Way We Always Do Things: Has your church become a machine and the people who serve on staff or in volunteer roles simply cogs who show up, make something happen, and go home? If those who are doing the work don’t have input into the vision, it’s likely they’ll get stifled and not be able to use their creativity and talent to truly support the church. They just become warm bodies on an assembly line, so to speak.
- Do You Know Their Passion? If anyone has ever attended church for a length of time, one will always hear the desperate “We need help in the nursery this summer!” plea from the pulpit. Sometimes seasons call for all-hands-on-deck, and often your church is willing to comply. Who’s looking out for the unique passions of the people in your church? Do you have a talented carpenter whose only area of service is picking up chairs after church? What would happen if there was a team of people who were passionate about finding ways for other people to use their passion? Win/win.
- Feedback: It’s easy to get caught in the routine of serving in a church. As a pastor or leader, as long as there are no crises to attend to, we assume everything is moving along smoothly. Have you ever been surprised when a group of people choose to leave the church at once without apparent cause? These people may have had smaller concerns building over time, and because they were never given a chance to express their red flags or even hear how they were doing, they become less committed to your church’s vision, and it becomes easier for them to split.
- Developing Talent: You have talented staff members and volunteers. But like anything, simply performing in the mundane may start causing disconnection. Talk openly with those who are serving your church to explore how the church may help them grow in pursuing their talents. Can a mentoring program be put into place? What about having experts in certain fields offer training?
- Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: Your church is innovative and new. You dream up big ideas fast and generally, everyone rallies around them. You find a team to work on the latest and greatest, but before they have a chance to strategize, implement and measure, you’re asking them to jump on the next new thing. Without the sense of completing a task with excellence and giving it enough time to learn to walk on its own, people are likely to feel rushed and unappreciated. Take. Time.
- Don’t Be Hands Off: Micromanaging is definitely one of the least favorable qualities if you manage people. However, being completely hands off with a team or a project can give the projection that you’re removed from the front lines. Show your support, touch base, and while not watching every play happen, graciously guide those who are working with you.
- Support Systems: Great people like to be around other great people. This is not a cry to have only the most excellent, most talented people in your church but rather to allow those with similar gifting and methods to spend time with each other. If you place a high-functioning, fast-paced leader with a team of slow, indecisive people, your leader may start looking around for a place he or she fits better.
- No Vision: Vision is vital to keeping anything alive. “Without vision, people perish.” It may be stating the obvious, but rehashing your vision, communicating it in new ways, and reminding people of its importance will keep everyone excited about the future.
- Listen: Do people regularly approach you with ideas or concerns? If not, you may be giving off airs that you’re not available to consider their opinions. By displaying the trait of being a good listener, people feel valued because they feel as if they are truly heard by you. Create space for this to happen, and communicate the best methods people can share their voice.
- One Bad Apple: Have you noticed a lot of people leaving from serving in one specific area? Chances are it’s not a coincidence. Pay close attention to what’s happening in a particular ministry. Is the leader overbearing or noncommunicative? Ask people who currently serve in one area if they have any concerns or have heard any other people talk about potential issues. Address them with the leader and follow up. You don’t want to have one misplaced leader turning away talented people.