Managing volunteer burnout is one of the toughest parts of leading a worship team. But if we’re not careful, we can overwork our volunteers until there’s no one left!
Here’s my suggestion: start by giving your team members permission to prioritize their own health and families above serving on Sundays. I know, that may sound counterintuitive in church culture! But what if your goal was to want something FOR your volunteers rather than always wanting something FROM them? It’s a different mindset.
For example, if you notice a team member seems stressed and complains of no free time, gently ask if taking a weekend off to relax with family would help. Assure them their place on the team is secure and thank them for serving faithfully. Just that offer of a break may feel refreshing. Even if they accept, have a plan in place like a simplified service or substitute musician. The goal is showing your people they matter more than what they do. A friend of mine is a guitarist at a well-known megachurch and plays every single Sunday. One week he was not scheduled do to a mix up. While he griped about not playing, he did admit how nice (and refreshing) it was to sit with his family during worship for a change!
Now let’s talk big teams. Getting a crowd on the same page takes communication during the week and casting vision on Sundays. Email your crew weekly with encouragement, prayer requests, plans for the weekend, etc. Even volunteers not serving that week want to feel connected.
Here’s an idea: send a weekly blog, text thread or video chat for the whole group with a Bible verse, Sunday prep and a chance to share prayer needs. Get creative! Developing your own regular communication channels is key for casting vision and unifying the team.
Your pastoral role is constantly bringing volunteers back to Jesus. Remind them why they serve by pointing people to Christ on Sundays.
Something else that helps is sending out schedules way in advance so people know when they’re up next. Anxiety happens when volunteers feel out of the loop.
Finally, celebrate wins with your crew! After services, gather and share stories of how God used the team to impact lives. Tell about the new face who felt welcomed, the friend returning for Week Two, the hardened heart softened. Testimonies unite teams and fuel vision.
Bottom line: Avoid burnout and stay connected by communicating regularly, casting vision and celebrating stories. Make your volunteers feel valued and known as individuals. Care for souls over skills and your team will thrive.