Tough Talk with a Pro Volunteer

David Leuschner

Every position and function for a church service is critical.


If someone doesn’t show up or slacks off, it could mean the difference between presenting an atmosphere that is engaging or an atmosphere that is distracting. We have all had that moment where the team is clicking along in perfect harmony and then… someone doesn’t show up, leaves early, doesn’t listen, doesn’t take direction or simply makes it known they are going to do it their way. The problem is this team member is very talented and creative. When it comes to mixing, working the lighting board, directing or operating a camera, they are off-the-charts talented. When it comes to working as a team, they create conflict and buck the system.


If you remove them from the team, you lose a key creative talent that has helped your church go to the next level. What do you do?

1. Apply Standards Evenly

Many churches I have visited have not written down or verbalized their standards, procedures and expectations. The first thing you need to do is write down your standards, verbalize them and let people know your expectations. Make sure you apply these standards evenly across the team. You can’t have any exceptions. The same standard you hold for staff, you should hold for volunteers. I know this is hard, but if you want to avoid a run away talent, that is taking advantage of the team, you have to operate in this manner.

Suggested Tweet: "Write down your standards, verbalize them and let people know your expectations. @davidleuschner"

2. Plan for Correction, then Restoration or Release

When someone violates the standards, you need to have a plan for correction and restoration. I have found that starting off by communicating the issue resolves most of the problems. But if the violation continues, you need a plan that allows the team member to understand what they did, see a solution to what they did and eventually restore them back to their position. Sometimes you will have to release team members that cannot or will not follow the plan you have setup to resolve the problem and restore them. It’s tough to tell someone they cannot serve on the team, but when they are presenting attitude and disruption to the team, this is the best course of action.


When you are developing your plan for correction, consider the following formula: If a team member has the right heart and is trying to get better, grace should abound. If not, grace should be measured, with consequences for abusing it.

The bottom line is this: If someone has the wrong heart and a bad attitude, you must take action or the issue will spread to the rest of the team.

Suggested Tweet: " If a team member has the right heart & is trying to get better, grace should abound. @davidleuschner"

About David Leuschner

Executive Director
Digital Great Commission Ministries

David Leuschner currently serves as the Executive Director of Digital Great Commission Ministries, a non-profit that has a mission to utilize technology to reach the entire world for Jesus Christ. From 2006 to 2017 he served on the Senior Team as the Senior Director of Technology and Technical Arts at Gateway Church. He provided oversight for all of the Technology and Live Production areas. While at Gateway, David guided and directed over 700 volunteers, part-time and full-time staff in a mission to facilitate several hundred events a month among all venues.

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