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When Volunteering Becomes a Chore

Remember when you were so excited to become a volunteer at church? You were anticipating impacting the lives of the nursery children or making someone’s first impression great as you greeted them at the door. It was so new and fresh and you began to make deeper connections with other volunteers and leaders.

Then something happened. That little something Sally Sue does started to really get under your skin. Getting the materials together seemed like such a chore. Would anyone even notice if you didn’t show up this Sunday?

If you’re experiencing this, you’re not alone. Volunteering, even at church, can become more of a job than a joy. You can feel aggravated, stressed, and sometimes even forgotten or underappreciated (I see you, nursery workers!). So, I’ve written this post for you.

Let me rephrase from earlier: volunteering, especially at church, can become more of a job than a joy. Something I think you should consider is the fact that you’re doing something in service to God. When you take the first step from just being a congregational member and move into volunteering, you begin to grow into more maturity. Serving the Lord and growing are two things that the devil isn’t a fan of. You should expect some things to try to steal your joy. The enemy is not interested in you making a difference in the lives of others – he wants you to be self-absorbed and stagnant. When trials and tribulations come your way, rejoice in knowing that God is using you and you are being effective! Try to frame it from a spiritual perspective and not a carnal one - “ever since I started this stupid volunteering, my life is horrible - my car won’t work and my job wants me to take weekends.”

When you’re experiencing difficulties, reach out. Talk to your fellow volunteers and the leader over you. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or like everything in your life is falling apart, don’t isolate yourself. Avoiding those around you and digging yourself into a mental trap will not make anything better. If your children suddenly are acting crazy or things at your job aren’t going well, talk to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! Ask for support in prayer. You’re not alone – we’ve all experienced these things and it certainly doesn’t make you any less for expressing it.

Communication is probably one of those things that is always important in any situation, and volunteering is definitely one of them. If you feel like you over-committed, talk to your leader NOW! Don’t wait until it’s been three months and resentment has built up in your heart. You don’t need to fantasize about cussing everyone out and storming out the church doors in a final farewell for weeks because you are too uncomfortable with speaking up. It is likely that you will be heard, despite what your mind is telling you.

Be open about your spiritual needs. It’s great that you volunteered in the nursery to help these little ones begin their relationship with God. But if you’re fuming after service every week because you never are in main service and never fellowship after because you are waiting for parents to pick up their babies, talk to your leader. There’s not always an immediate solution, but you can begin on working on something so you can have time in main service as a congregational member, too.

Remember why you did this in the first place. Your heart was in the right place – you wanted to serve God, be a part, and make an impact. You still are doing that! When you begin to feel bitter toward others, pray and communicate. It is not selfless martyrdom to glare at the new visitors every week because you won’t dare talk to your leader about possibly having a week off. Your church family is here with you! We love and appreciate you and hope that you’ll come to deeper relationship with us by openly communicating.

Thank you for all your service volunteering. You make so many things possible and when you’re committed and on the same page spiritually, you pave the way for people to have a life-changing experience with God.

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