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Are Your Mobile Church Volunteers Empowered or Exhausted?
September 13, 2016

Thank God for church volunteers! They give their precious time to lead and organize various church ministries and activities. Moreover, they work selflessly to balance their jobs and personal lives with their church responsibilities. A mobile church, like yours, is especially dependent on dedicated volunteers for setting up and tearing down equipment each week. 


However, here’s the other side of the coin: church volunteer burnout is a real thing! The percentage of volunteers that quit serving at their church is by no means low. Let’s talk about your church volunteers, today.


Is there a lack of joy and celebration among your volunteers? Are an increasing number of volunteers quitting or wanting to quit? Do they seem more exhausted and less empowered? If the answer to any of these questions is YES, hopefully this blog can help you change the circumstances.


Why volunteer burnout happens


Here are five major reasons for church volunteer burnout. Continue reading to identify your culprit(s):


  • Unclear expectations:

Do your volunteers know exactly what is expected of them? Often church leaders skip the details in their instructions to volunteers. The end result? This lack of clarity results in frustration among volunteers. In fact, your volunteers will continuously fail to meet your expectations – because they don’t even know what they are!


  • No processes or systems laid out:

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself today:
Does your church have a formal process to recruit, mentor, train and release volunteers?
– Are your volunteers briefed about their responsibilities well in advance?
– Do the volunteers serving in various capacities – set-up team, ushers, children’s ministry teachers etc. – have designated job descriptions?
– Is there an established volunteer team structure and set-up process?
– Is there a designated go-to person whom volunteers can approach with their questions or doubts?

If your response is  an ‘Ummm’ or ‘No’ for any of these key questions – that’s a problem!


  • Lack of training:

Are you investing enough time, effort and resources in training your volunteers? “How hard can it be to serve coffee?” you ask. Well, your volunteers need a foundation of solid training, irrespective of their responsibilities – whether it is setting up the kids’ areas or greeting visitors at the door! Volunteers who are not fully prepared to fulfill their roles end up feeling lost and under-confident.


  • Little or no appreciation:

Your volunteers donate many hours of their precious time to make sure that your church can run smoothly, week after week! When did you last thank them for their efforts? In the absence of regular recognition or appreciation, your church volunteers are bound to feel unwanted and dejected.

We suggest something like, “Thank you for using the assets God has given you to help grow the Kingdom in XX way. Your service is an act of worship to God,” rather than “Thank you for what you do. I know it is inglorious and such hard work, but we couldn’t do church without you.” Focus on the end goal, not on the immediate task.


  • Using cumbersome equipment:

Portable church volunteers have the added responsibility of setting up and tearing down equipment every week. Right from unloading, through installation and operation, to tearing down and packing away – this process can be a cumbersome one!

Is your portable church equipment easy to roll in and roll out of your church facility? Are your volunteers able to install and use it efficiently? Equipment that is heavy, inefficient and not suited to your specific requirements will be a cause of frustration for your team.


Which of these roadblocks might be causing your volunteers to burnout?


How you can fight volunteer burnout


Your church volunteers could be worn out by any, or all, of the above reasons. However, here are 10 incredibly effective ways that you can STOP volunteer burnout right away:


  • Show some appreciation:

Needless to say, saying thank you every now and then will go along way in making your volunteers feel valuable. Take out some time to make them feel appreciated. How about hosting a volunteer appreciation meal?


  • Communicate regularly:

Keep your volunteers updated. Don’t drop last-minute surprises on them! It is a good idea to create a consistent, and somewhat predictable, communication process. For example, you could schedule monthly meetings with volunteers, and send out e-mails to them every two weeks.


  • Get to know your volunteers:

People are a church’s most valuable asset, right? Similarly, your volunteers are a lot more precious than the work that they do! Therefore, it is key that the church leadership gets to know them. Encouraging them to talk about their family and personal lives will also reinforce a sense of belonging.


  • Ask for their input:

Church volunteers are committed to your church and its vision. They, too, want to see more growth and life in your church. Therefore, it is key that you create the space for them to share their ideas, suggestions and thoughts about doing church better! This will keep them engaged and help them feel more valuable.


  • Set clear expectations and goals:

Share as many details as possible about any tasks that you assign to your volunteers. For example, volunteers setting up the kids’ areas should be told about signage placements, drop-off/pickup protocol, number of chairs to be put out, specific decor etc. More importantly, tell them whom to approach for any questions or further clarity.


  • Give them rest:

We all need a break, and so do your volunteers! So, allow them to say NO when they’re feeling worn out. A more efficient way to do this is by enlisting more than one volunteer for a task. This allows you to alternate weeks and keeps people fresh.

  • Invest in training and resources: 

No matter how simple a task looks, your volunteers need proper training to efficiently and confidently execute it. In addition to department specific training, each volunteer also needs an understanding of your church’s overall vision. 

Solid training is a great tool to fight church volunteer burnout. Click To Tweet


  • Build a community of volunteers:

Encourage your volunteers to hang out together. Not just to discuss the next event, but also to grab dinner or watch a movie! A portable church requires weekly setting up and tearing down of equipment. As a result, this fosters a sense of fellowship and teamwork.

  • Establish clear structure and processes:

Nobody likes a disorganized church – certainly not those who serve in it!

The absence of a defined volunteer team structure and processes can be a big cause of frustration among volunteers. Click To Tweet

Our experts at Portable Church recommend designating a volunteer foreperson who can oversee the whole process and ensure that your church’s standards of excellence are met each week.


  • Get the right equipment:

The equipment in a portable church setup is of utmost importance. You need to choose equipment that can easily be loaded, moved around and unloaded by your volunteers every week. In addition, they should be able to install, use and put it away with ease. Check out these seven factors to consider when choosing your portable church equipment.



Portable Church has helped thousands of mobile churches successfully mobilize their volunteer teams for efficiency. That is why our experts have designed appealing and easy-to-use solutions to help you enhance your team’s experience and reduce volunteer burnout.

So, give us a call today at 800.939.7722, and we’ll help you fight volunteer burnout in your church.