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MichaelBayne.net http://www.michaelbayne.net Rethinking Church, Leadership, & Ministry Tue, 07 Nov 2017 14:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 41488366 4 Podcasts Influencing Our Church Planting Journey http://www.michaelbayne.net/4-podcasts-influencing-our-church-planting-journey/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/4-podcasts-influencing-our-church-planting-journey/#comments Tue, 07 Nov 2017 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=2369 I’m a learner. I love conferences, visiting churches, connecting with leaders and asking as many questions as possible. The problem when you are planting a church is that you don’t have the budget to hit many conferences or the time to get away and hang out with some of the churches you want to learn from.

This year my wife lured me into the podcast arena. This is a big deal because I am an avid music consumer. My favorite day of the week is Friday when Apple Music releases all the new tunes, but I am beginning to look forward to Tuesday also because of the new podcasts! Podcasts simply give you a more authentic view and perspective of leaders all around the country and…they are FREE. For any learner a good podcast is gold.

I’m new to the podcast game and our church will be launching a weekly podcast (more than a sermon podcast!) for our city in just a few months. Here are four podcasts that have encouraged me as we have walked through the planting journey…

  1. The StoryBrand Podcast / Hosted by author, speaker, and entrepreneur Donald Miller, this podcast helps people think through the branding and messaging of their organization. Each week you are challenged to think about the clarity of your brand and also learn from some the best marketing/leadership minds today. A fun podcast that will stir the marketing mind of the church planter.
  2. Carey Niewhoff Leadership Podcast / Carey has been an encouraging leader in my life and his podcast is no different. This podcast is focused on ministry and leadership. This is a long-form podcast that gives space for the guests to go deep on many subject matters. I believe it’s a “must listen” ministry podcast.
  3. How I Built This Podcast / This podcast is focused on starters, dreamers, and innovators and how they started the organizations they lead. This is the podcast that helps me keep striving forward each week and gives me hope for the future. When you plant or re-launch a church you are getting the full entrepreneurial experience! Starting and re-starting is hard and you need encouragement along the journey.
  4. Theology in the Raw Podcast / This is hosted by Preston Sprinkle and it’s a podcast focused on giving ministry leaders space to debate difficult issues in our current culture. This podcast helps me think about difficult social issues the church must face today. I enjoy this podcast because I don’t always agree with the perspective but the tone is consistently fair, humble, and honest.

What are some great podcasts that are helping you grow as a leader?

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10 Ways to be a Good Pastor and Parent http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-ways-to-be-good-parent-and-pastor/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-ways-to-be-good-parent-and-pastor/#comments Wed, 25 Oct 2017 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=1261 This is a post that I struggle writing because there is no way I am getting nominated for “Dad of the Year.” I am learning on the go just like everyone else. I honestly have no advantage! The question I am wrestling with is can I be a good pastor and dad?

I ask the question because I know every pastor, minister, and lead volunteer out there wonders if they are giving the best they have to the ministry they lead at church and the ministry God has given them at home. I think the answer to the question is YES, you can be a good dad and pastor. I believe this because I have been mentored by some guys that I have watched balance the weight of parenting and ministry. As I have watched these guys balance the two I have come to believe that all of them had to make some hard choices that set them up to be good parents and good pastors simultaneously.

I am discovering there are a few choices I have to make if I want to balance my call to serve others and invest in my children at home.

  1. Establish Traditions / Eat together as a family as much as possible, go on dates, eat lunch at school, create a movie night, just make sure you create and calendar traditions your kids will remember.
  2. Take Vacation Time / You have vacation time so have the courage to use it. Make sure that you take time to totally shut down and have some adventures with your family. Make some memories, your kids will be so blessed by that time with them.
  3. Work Hard & Play Hard / Work hard in your ministry then make sure and come home and play hard with your family. Be present when you are home and strive to be engaged with what is going on at home.
  4. Invest in My Marriage / You can’t be the parent your kids need if you are constantly struggling with your spouse. Live out a healthy marriage for your kids to see up close.
  5. Pray Intentionally for My Kids / Whatever you want your kids to become pray intentionally. Praying for and with my kids helps me to fight for them spiritually.
  6. Be a Parent Even at Church / It’s OK that your kids enjoy the fact you are a pastor at the church. My kids get my attention even when I am in “work mode” at church.
  7. Say No to Church Sometimes So I Can Say Yes to My Kids / Your kids need you to say no many times so you can say yes to being with them and being a parent. No is a powerful word that will help you be a better dad. Saying it is really the only way to find balance.
  8. Keep Striving to Be Better as a Parent / Every day is a new day to get better. I have to keep working on being a better parent and not be bound my mistakes made yesterday.
  9. Get Used to Apologizing / My kids need to hear me say I’m sorry when I am wrong. Yep, I make mistakes and it’s gonna be OK. Being an authentic parent means I simply have to be real with my kids!
  10. Fight for the Heart / As I fight to help my kids succeed in life and follow Jesus I also have to fight to have a healthy relationship with them. Rules and expectations without relationship are worthless.

Is balancing ministry and parenting hard for you also? I struggle with being fully present at home…playing as hard at home as at work. Which one is hard for you? What are some things you would add to this list?

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10 Elements of a Healthy Family Ministry http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-elements-of-a-healthy-family-ministry/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-elements-of-a-healthy-family-ministry/#comments Thu, 05 Oct 2017 18:00:00 +0000 One of the most important elements of a healthy church is the choice to create, fund, and empower a healthy family ministry. As we work toward launching Greenville Community Church, creating a thriving, healthy family ministry is one of our top priorities because we fully understand the potential it has.

Creating a healthy family ministry does not happen by accident. Health doesn’t happen by just hiring a staff person to fill a position, building a new area for kids, painting the youth room black, or making a new logo. Healthy family ministry happens by being intentional and making it a church-wide priority.

Every pastor I know wants a thriving family ministry but very few are willing to be intentional about making the moves that lead to health. Lead Pastors often expect someone else to take care of students, kids, and parents so they can focus on adult ministry. We get trapped there because it’s where we get our affirmation from. When we are blinded by the adult platform we miss the spiritual potential that comes only from investing in the next generation.

God blesses churches that embrace their call to pour energy and resources into kids, teens and college students. In Scripture, Jesus made it clear that making room to care and invest in children was important. Jesus invites several teens to be his first followers. The Old Testament clearly reveals that the path of spiritual development flows through parents. It should be clear to all of us that family ministry matters. The question for us is, how do we get there?

There are common elements found in churches that have healthy family ministries. Check out these 10 elements that will help you lead your family ministry toward health…

  1. Family ministry potential is understood and embraced. // There is no area of the church that has more potential for leading people toward the Gospel. Family Ministry is not about childcare or entertainment. Family Ministry is an evangelistic anchor of the church.
  2. Senior leadership is the biggest supporter of family ministry. // Healthy family ministry is always championed by senior leadership because people easily forget why it matters. Senior leaders must cast the vision, be the cheerleader, and fund the process!
  3. The church must be comfortable with being uncomfortable. // Reaching the next generation can challenge older generations. We have to embrace the challenge and accept that it’s a messy process. It’s hard and it’s worth it!
  4. Creating engaging environments is a priority. // Make family ministry space as much a priority as the adult service. Environments can help kids go to the next level in discovering the love of Jesus because the right environment can break down spiritual barriers.
  5. Parents are our partners. // Healthy family ministries do strive to invite parents into the journey so they can be spiritually influential at home! Parents have time and a voice we will never have. We must encourage and empower that influence.
  6. Simplicity is the goal.  // The best family ministries work hard to focus their effort! We can’t-do EVERYTHING if we want to be effective.
  7. Volunteers are developed and equipped for ministry. // There has to be a process to invite high impact leaders into family ministry and then empower them to do ministry! Volunteers make the difference between good and great.
  8. Community and connection are the foundation of discipleship. // Connecting kids and students with a small group and a few small group leaders is critical! Discipleship is relational.
  9. Teamwork is demanded. // Great family ministry is rooted in teamwork between age group leaders. Competition between age groups is just not allowed. One team with one goal always accomplishes more.
  10. Leadership is empowered. // If you want a healthy family ministry then be ready to hire leaders and allow them to innovate.
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15 Lessons I’ve Discovered from Visiting Churches http://www.michaelbayne.net/15-lessons-discovered-from-visiting-churches/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/15-lessons-discovered-from-visiting-churches/#comments Tue, 03 Oct 2017 15:33:40 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=2346 For the past few months, I have been able to be something that as a pastor I rarely get to experience. For four months I have been able to be a visitor at church. I have always been on staff and had a crucial role to fulfill on Sundays, but now that we are preparing to plant Greenville Community Church here in Greenville, SC, I have had the pleasure of being able to drop in and learn from other churches.

From our experience in this season of ministry, we have found that most churches are working hard to be ready to welcome guests. Not every church we have attended has had a great guest services team but each of the churches we have checked out has made it a priority. It’s encouraging to see churches strive to be ready for new faces to join them. I’m thrilled that churches are taking the guest experience seriously because it’s a critical element if a church hopes to reach and retain new people.

As visitors, we have learned some lessons that we will make a priority as we launch our new church. Here is what we have found has mattered the most as we have visited churches…

  1. Your website gives a critical 1st impression. > We have learned so much about churches we are planning to visit by simply checking out their websites, and we have even decided not to visit churches because of the website. The truth is, the design and content of your website provide an important view into your church before anyone shows up for your service.
  2. Your social media helps me see what you are about. > Social media for a church is also sharing a story and most churches are using it as a glorified announcement board. Before we visit, we have checked out the social media outlets to learn if it’s a priority to the church and what message they are sharing through the different platforms.
  3. Parking volunteers can help or hurt…choose wisely if you use them. > We have visited churches with and without parking lot teams. Here is my advice. If you are going to use a parking lot team make sure and put connectors out there. Don’t use a parking lot team if you are going to put grumpy or indifferent people in that area. We have seen this at several churches and it does not set the tone well. If you use a parking team then make it a priority.
  4. Signage really is a big deal. > If your signage is bad my experience will be bad because I am new. Clear, well designed, helpful signage is a must.
  5. Coffee is important. > Make sure it’s high quality, easily available, and served in a good cup. There is something welcoming and community-building wrapped around serving coffee so make sure it’s done well.
  6. Check-in volunteers for families can make or break a family’s first visit. > Helping kids get checked into their ministry area is already stressful and the people you staff in family guest services set the tone for your entire family ministry. Make sure those areas are staffed with your most helpful and caring leaders.
  7. Quality hosting and direction from the worship leader is very important. > Stage hosts and worship leaders who communicate well from stage help visitors understand the culture of the church. Hosts and worship leaders who communicate poorly (too long, random, insider talk, or “used care salesman-ish” tone) from stage make visitors want to run for the car.
  8. Whatever you print to give away make sure it’s excellent and helpful. > If you are going to have pieces you give out on Sundays please make sure they look good and have the correct information.
  9. Don’t force greeting time in the service. > If you use a “turn around and tell your neighbor hello” moment please explain why and set it up so it’s easier for introverts. Please do not feel that you have to do this every week. I’m an extrovert and it’s still odd at times. It helps when the time of greeting is led well and timed well, we don’t need 10 minutes to mingle.
  10. Work hard to make the sound and lighting engaging and not distracting. > The goal of sound and lighting is to help the experience not detract from it. Sound and lighting are important factors to visitors so put effort into making it great. This has nothing to do with the style of service. Make sure sound and lighting are great so you don’t distract the visitor from the message in whatever style of service you create.
  11. The quality of the communicator is critical. > It’s really the most important factor for visitors and it’s already been proven by research over the years. Preaching/teaching really does matter so make sure your communicators are empowered, trained, and equipped to make the message great.
  12. Be clear about how people can connect and get questions answered after service. > Every week, no matter what, engage visitors from the stage and let them know how they can take the next step. Where is the info center, guest center, connection table, or whatever you call it! Talk to visitors and let them know how to connect and ask questions.
  13. Choose pre and post service music carefully and have it ready to go. > The music you choose pre and post service is sending a message. Choose well and make sure the volume is right!
  14. Greeters and door hosts matter as much after as before service. > It’s easy to get confused in a new space so having people in place to help and connect after the service is a real bonus.
  15. You can’t fake authentic joy and community. > It’s been easy to see when people are serving out of obligation and when people really love their church as we have visited. This is a leadership culture issue and it’s easy to diagnose when visiting churches. You, as the leader, have to make the visitor experience everyone fights for.
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Why Are You Planting a Church Here? http://www.michaelbayne.net/why-are-you-planting-a-church-here/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/why-are-you-planting-a-church-here/#comments Fri, 29 Sep 2017 20:10:37 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=2340 One of the questions we get asked is why we chose to plant a church in Greenville, SC. What they are asking is not our motive for planting but why the location. How did we decide to move our family to this city, parachute in, build relationships, and launch a new church? The question they really want to ask is what crazy person would do that! (I wonder that myself every other day!)

It’s a question that I have the joy of answering weekly here but it’s also a question that we had to wrestle to the ground before we moved. Once we sensed God stirring our hearts to plant a new church, location was an issue we spent hours processing and praying about.

Chelsea and I really are firm believers that you have to love where you serve and that geography matters. When you love where you serve you are ready to embrace the culture as home and embrace the people you are called to care for. Many years ago, we spent 4 years serving a little town called Bloomfield and God created a deep love in us for the community that helped us love the people well. We also embrace the importance of geography because over and over in the Bible we see God place leaders in specific areas to do specific work. God already knew our hearts needed boundaries as we faced the immense challenge of spreading the Gospel. When God reveals us a city or region to serve we have the freedom to focus more on that culture so we can be most effective.

Where you plant matters as much as what you plant when you are launching a life-giving church. Where you plant is going to impact what you plant no matter how you are determined to be unique in your efforts to shape the culture. Where matters! Here are some steps that helped us decide where to plant…

  1. We prayed with open hands. // After 20 years of ministry, we had already learned the lesson of not telling God where we would or would not go. We choose to pray through this with open hands and we agreed that God could send us where He wanted. Open-handed prayer means I am willing for God to change my plans.
  2. We evaluated our gifting and who we lead well. // It’s critical to know both who you are and who you’re not. Take time to look back and see who you lead well in your past ministry settings. You are who you are for a reason so don’t try to be someone you are not by aiming your plant toward people you don’t serve well and a city you don’t connect with.
  3. We looked for natural connections. // I am a relationship builder so I looked for relational connections in cities that could help me connect with other people in the community.
  4. We developed a list and invited people to pray with us. // At some point, you have to narrow your search and your prayer effort. It sounds simple but it helps you focus. This is when we asked people to link arms with us in prayer and give us input.
  5. We filtered cities through our calling and vision. // Knowing what you are going to plant helps you see clearly if that is needed in a city or area of town. Our vision shaped our call to a very religious city because we long to reimagine church in a very churched culture.
  6. We looked for trends and regional dynamics. // Do your research and become an expert on the cities you are praying about. Discover the statistical details of the regions you are exploring. You have to know the city and ask good questions.
  7. We took time to visit, connect with people, and pray. // Take time to break away and walk the city you are praying about. Meet leaders in the community. Share your vision. See how God moves your heart when you are there. (We have several stories because we did this what were clear God moments!)
  8. We allowed God to stir our hearts and change our minds. // We did not make a call until we knew God worked in our hearts and brought clarity. We remained open-handed with our dream until God moved our hands to embrace our city.
  9. We took steps of faith and looked for God to confirm the move. // Start moving forward in the planting process and allow God to confirm your call. Faith demands steps forward. Step out and allow God to bring things into place.
  10. We moved and started the journey. // You really have not embraced a city until you leave everything behind to start a new journey. You will never fully understand any city until you wake up every morning there with nowhere else to go. Your real choice to invest in a city begins when you live there and learn what it means to be a part of it.

This is how we landed here in Greenville, SC. Knowing where to plant is a process and the best advice I could give you is to not rush the process. Planting a church is brutal and your calling to your city if one element that helps you push through the opposition. Got questions about your journey? Just look on the connect tab and shoot me an email!

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10 Lessons I Learned About Volunteers by Volunteering http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-lessons-i-learned-about-volunteers-by-volunteering/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-lessons-i-learned-about-volunteers-by-volunteering/#comments Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=1884 One thing every ministry leader should do is make time to actually volunteer.

If you are a pastor or ministry leader then you spend tons of time asking people to volunteer. You spend hour on hour recruiting and equipping people to serve. Truth is that none of our ministries would ever make a lasting impact without the passion and dedication of volunteers!

You can read others talk about recruiting and equipping volunteers there is nothing like volunteering to teach you what a volunteer needs to thrive. Every pastor should make time to volunteer so they understand the blessing and tension of giving your extra time to serve others. When you take on a volunteer role you commit (humble) yourself to advancing another leader’s vision. Volunteering forces you to depend on others for the tools and information you need to do your job. You learn quickly what is inspiring and what is draining when you give your time away!

The simple truth is that taking time to volunteer helps me to be a better leader of volunteers.

Here are 10 lessons I learned from taking time to volunteer…

  1. Volunteers love to be a part of something significant.
  2. Volunteers need the right info and easy access to info.
  3. Volunteers love to have fun.
  4. Volunteers love seeing progress.
  5. Volunteers need support when problems arise.
  6. Volunteers will give more than asked.
  7. Volunteers need clear expectations.
  8. Volunteers need a voice.
  9. Volunteers are up for hard work.
  10. Volunteers appreciate a simple and authentic thank you.

Take time out to step away from leading volunteers and actually volunteer in another ministry. You will be a better leader of volunteers when you take time to volunteer.

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Developing a Winning Family Ministry Team / D6 Session Notes http://www.michaelbayne.net/developing-a-winning-family-ministry-team-d6-session-notes/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/developing-a-winning-family-ministry-team-d6-session-notes/#comments Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:00:45 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=2326 If you’re going to make a spiritual impact in the lives of families you can’t do it alone. You need a winning team and it makes no difference the size of your church. In this session, we will discover how to find and develop a winning family ministry team!

Your ministry will grow to the level of your leadership ability. It will center on your strengths and will buckle under your weaknesses. You can build a winning team that will make a huge impact in your ministry setting.

Click here to download the session notes!

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Pacing Change / D6 Conference Session Notes http://www.michaelbayne.net/pacing-change-d6-conference-session-notes/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/pacing-change-d6-conference-session-notes/#comments Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=2320 If you are serving in a church setting then you must learn how to guide people through the maze of change. Some of us thrive in change and some would rather avoid it all together.

No matter your preference the most critical aspect of effective change leadership is learning the right pace for change in your setting.

In this session, unpacked how to pace change in your family ministry setting.

Click here to download the notes for this session. 

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10 Reasons We Chose to Plant with ARC http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-reasons-we-chose-to-plant-arc/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/10-reasons-we-chose-to-plant-arc/#comments Tue, 19 Sep 2017 15:34:18 +0000 http://www.michaelbayne.net/?p=2329 One of the most important decisions you make, after you decide to pursue planting a church, is deciding who you will partner with for training and support. Choosing an organization for Chelsea and me to partner with was something we spent hours processing and praying about and we are so glad we landed on working with the Association of Related Churches or what we call ARC.

There are tons of great church planting organizations out there. We checked out Acts 29, NewThing Network, and the North American Mission Board and all had different strengths and weaknesses. ARC has its own strengths and weaknesses also but in the end, we chose to plant Greenville Community Church with their training and support.

As we searched for our planting partner we became more and more convicted of the importance of support in the planting process beyond financial support. The organization you choose when you plant has a direct impact on your church’s DNA and the DNA of the future churches birthed as you multiply. When you choose a network to partner with you are choosing a family to walk with while you pursue this exciting but extremely difficult journey. Trying to plant in isolation is simply not a wise move.

Here are 10 reasons we linked arms with ARC

  1. Difficult & Intentional Application Process / The application and selection process with ARC is difficult and we were so thankful. They were deliberate and we were also on our end. Planting a life-giving church demands dedicated and consistent leadership and ARC has high standards that are made clear in the application process.
  2. Leadership Culture / ARC is looking for planters who are leaders and have the ability to develop other leaders inside the church. The training process sets pastors up to focus on leadership development for the life of the church. Excellence and leadership development is a clear expectation.
  3. Proven Strategy / ARC has planted over 700 churches around the world over the past 15 years. They have a game plan that is always being tested and worked on by church planters.
  4. Collaborative Resources / ARC churches are sharing churches. There are tons of resources from thousands of churches available to planters.
  5. Consistent Coaching / Every church planter has a coach assigned to them to walk them through the journey. This has been such a blessing to our team already! We are much better planters because our coaches have walked us through this journey.
  6. Creative Funding Structure / ARC has a great financial support plan that gets real dollars aimed at real ministry. You can learn more about this on the ARC website but it’s a funding strategy that is so helpful to launch sustainable churches.
  7. Diverse Network of Churches / The ARC network is a diverse network of churches. Planters are not forced into a certain mold and creativity is encouraged.
  8.  A Culture of Encouragement / There is a spirit of celebration that runs through the culture of ARC. Its real and it matters!
  9. Dedication to Prayer / Everything at ARC is clearly dependent on God’s power and churches are led to plant praying churches.
  10. Call to Intentional Multiplication / ARC planters are called to plant a church that will plant other churches. Life-giving churches launch other churches. We believe intentional multiplication is critical to spreading the message of Jesus.

What we found in ARC was a diverse group of churches and leaders dedicated to church planting around the world. We felt like we found a family we could link arms with and as we moved through this process we have found that discovery to be so valuable. These 10 aspects of ARC matter because our long-term goal in Greenville is to plant a network of life-giving churches. We did not just need a plating partner for this season but for the future of our church.

Thinking about planting? Have questions about our experience with ARC? Email me and let’s talk.

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Leading Negative Volunteers http://www.michaelbayne.net/leading-negative-volunteers/ http://www.michaelbayne.net/leading-negative-volunteers/#comments Thu, 14 Sep 2017 20:00:00 +0000 We all have them and we always will have them…chronically negative volunteers. Nothing is good enough. There are always “other people” who are complaining to them. There seems to always be some crisis that needs to be addressed. Ignoring them has serious consequences so we have to learn how to lead negative volunteers. Avoiding them is not an option and griping about them won’t help anything. We need to find a better plan.

Leading positive and encouraging volunteers is fun, but how you lead chronically negative leaders is the real mark of maturity. These people need firm leadership and must not be allowed to wreak havoc in your ministry. People often remain negative and loud because they have been talked about behind their back and never confronted. Many times these are people who want to serve, want to make a difference, but either their lack of emotional maturity or past hurts lure them toward negativity.  These people need us to lead them and not give up on them because so many times these are just people who have been scarred in the past and they are serving “with baggage.” There are times to move chronically negative volunteers out but before you make that move take these steps…

  • Pray for them. / Dealing with negative volunteers is draining and when we are tired and operating in our own strength it’s easy to give up on people. Pray for these volunteers. Pray that God will give you wisdom in dealing with them. Pray that God will soften their hearts. God can do what we can never do in the lives of negative people.
  • Stay positive. / No matter what a negative volunteer brings to you by email or in a meeting stay positive and never feed into their negativity. Negative people love negative company. Stay positive and keep revealing what good is happening all around the ministry.
  • Define reality for them. / Negative volunteers often get stuck on one issue which leads them to not understand the big picture. We have to have the courage and define reality for people who are stuck in a negative cycle. Paint the picture they are missing!
  • Challenge them. /  There will always come a time to challenge negative volunteers. Challenge them to see the good. Challenge them to choose a better attitude. Challenge them to rethink their position. Challenge them to ask why they seem stuck!
  • Confront them consistently. /  If you really want to help a negative volunteer you have to be consistent in confronting them when they get off track. Make sure you consistently communicate with them, encourage them, and lead them. Do not avoid confrontation when it comes to negativity.
  • Be willing to let them walk. /  At the end of the day, we have to be willing to allow negative volunteers to walk away from our church and our ministry. You can handle this with grace but there are times you just have to confront and allow them to walk away.

What are some things you have done to handle chronically negative volunteers?

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