I’m an optimistic person. In fact, I’ve let optimism blind me from realism. This has caused me trouble many times in the past. If you work in ministry, it is your tendency to be optimistic. Why? As Christians, we believe in a faith that brings us hope. Hope of salvation. Hope of peace. Hope.
I have had hopes that a volunteer was going to be a perfect fit in my ministry. They seemed to have all the right skills. They were committed, passionate, and loved their church and God. I can find a place for them in my ministry. Perfect.
Then reality sets in and my optimism is replaced with realism.
Soon after, I discover that the volunteer is not working out as well as I hoped. In fact, I have quickly discovered that this particular volunteer was a wrong fit.
The fact is that I often ignored the warning signs that a volunteer was a wrong fit. What are those warning signs?
1. The volunteer consistently arrives a couple minutes late.
On occasion, we all get in a bind and arrive late to a ministry event or program. That’s fine. The key word here is consistently. I reason with myself, “They were just a few minutes late. No big deal.” But it is. When a volunteer arrives consistently late, that is a warning sign that they are not committed to the ministry. Soon, they begin to arrive ten minutes late, then 15 minutes late. Then they don’t show up at all leaving you and the rest of your team in a bind.
2. The volunteer posts inappropriate comments on social media.
I never go trolling for information on my volunteers on social media sites, but I am connected with some of my volunteers, so naturally, our social media worlds collide. I’ve seen time and time again how people use social media to share with the world their shenanigans. I’m a big fan of social media, but some things should not be said. This is about boundaries. We need to always be aware of appropriate and inappropriate boundaries. I should be concerned if I see things on social media that indicates a lack of understanding on boundaries. We especially have to be careful of comments shared that are contrary to Christian teaching. Lack of boundaries on social media could indicate a lack of boundaries with face-to-face relationships.
3. The volunteer begins to badmouth others.
The moment we allow a culture of gossip is when the entire team of volunteers becomes ineffective. Gossip and badmouthing others should never be allowed. Don’t fool yourself in thinking that if you just address the problem with that volunteer it will go away. Gossips don’t stop gossiping because I confronted them once on the issue. This person is a wrong fit.
What are some warning signs that you would add to the list?