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Work life balance
If you are the only worship leader, drummer or sound operator, find people you can train up to lighten the load.

Volunteer Boundaries: Without Them, Things Can Get Crazy

If we don’t find a balance between the workload and the time away from it, we won’t last.

What is the definition of a volunteer?


  1. a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.
How long can we endure this schedule, before we are toast?

synonyms: subjectparticipantcaseclientpatient

informal guinea pig

"during the investigation, each volunteer was studied three times"

    • verb
  1. freely offer to do something.

"he volunteered for the job"

Chances are if you are serving as a volunteer at your church, you are not the only one. The majority of our churches are staffed by people who have freely “volunteered” their time, talent, skills to serve in various ministries and services.

You noticed the word “freely” right? If you’re getting paid, then you’re not a typical volunteer.

So, what is your reward?

Why do you do what you do?

Did you volunteer for this position, or were you recruited?

Are you seeking the approval of people for the service you render?

Do you feel that you’re the only one who can pull this off? 

What is your motivation to continue, and how are you going to maintain it?

Are you depending on your own strength or God’s? 

Are you willing to solicit the help you need or are you afraid that it will display weakness or lack of skill? Galatians 1:10

Why do you do what you do?

You need to honestly assess the “why,” and erect boundaries that will help you to maintain:

        1. A proper attitude. 
        2. Healthy relationships, not only with your team and church family, but with your own family and friends as well.
        3.  Physical and mental health/well-being.
        4. Trust, connection and an open line of communication up and down the line with those you lead and the ones you serve.
        5. A sense of knowing what you can and cannot do; to ask for help when needed.
        6. Time for personal worship, recharging, refreshing.
        7. A passion for the church.

Boundaries need to be constructed!

Many times, your job description will be spelled out, with each of your responsibilities and expectations. The schedule is set, and, in a way, the boundaries are created for you.

In other cases, it’s not.

Perhaps you are a worship leader or a media tech, who serves every second or fourth weekend. In other cases, you may be the only sound operator and you’re on every week. Whew! Can I get a witness?

When boundaries aren’t set, things are bound to get crazy. If the boundaries aren’t set for you, guess what? You’ll have to set them for you and perhaps even for those you work with.

If we don’t find a balance between the workload and the time away from it, we won’t last.   We get so caught up in serving/leading others, that we don’t have time to worship, to pray, to sit in His presence, to be in the Word or in fellowship. I know this is true of me.

I’ve heard from so many worship leaders and techs that they either don’t have or don’t take the time to pray. Make the time and whenever that is, make certain that you keep the appointment. It’s in these times that we will find the purpose of our calling, our position.  Here is where you’ll find the “why you do what you do”!

We also need to “get away” from our obligations at work or in ministry. This is especially true of you, the volunteer who serves, without pay.

The majority of churches’ worship and tech teams are staffed with volunteers. Typically, this means someone who is a worship leader, or a sound operator, has a full-time job outside the church and is working perhaps on a weeknight for rehearsal or mid-week service and the meetings on the weekend.

In some cases, the volunteer is working nonstop for a week at their job, the weekend at church and back at their job again for another full week.

How long can we endure this schedule, before we are toast?  

Get away!! 

Schedule time to rest, take a vacation, carve out time for family and no work.

If you are the only worship leader, drummer or sound operator, find people you can train up to lighten the load.  

You may be saying: “there is nobody else” … really? If you died tomorrow, you don’t think the church would be able to find someone to replace you? 

So, before you die, burnout or leave the ministry, recruit, train, mentor your replacements or your substitutes. The more the merrier. Share the burdens and the rewards.

Learn to say “No”!

  • You need to protect yourself and your family, your friends and co-workers from physical and mental harm, and one of the best things you can do to ensure that, is to be able to say “No!” 
  • Know your limits. Know what you can do, without negatively affecting you or those in your life.
  • Don’t be guilted into something that will just wear you out.

Surround Yourself with Support

Form working relationships with your coministers outside of work, outside of the church, so that you have a better understanding of who they are, what they do, what their hobbies are, where they are weak and strong, what talents they possess, how they are wired, where they live, and what they like to eat. 

Trust them if and when they happen to sound the alarm to you. Hopefully you would do the same for them.

Trust is the key word.

Trust doesn’t happen without having a strong relationship in the first place. George MacDonald says it this way, “to be trusted is a better compliment than to be loved.”

Keep the lines of communication open with your leaders, your peers; with those you are leading, family and friends. Be accountable to someone close to you, that you trust and can confide in. Don’t shut them out!

Many times, our church or our work environment is toxic. You will have to determine if where you are is a healthy place for you to be. 

Find the place where you are encouraged; that is dedicated to you, and not just to the things that need to be done; where they will pour into your spiritual and physical well- being; that will support you with resources and help to fulfill your calling. They will thank you for your service and reward you in tangible ways: a weekend away, a night out with your wife, a gift card, a Thank You!

In other words, a place that cares for you more than what you do.

I am planning on hosting a worship leader and tech retreat in 2019. These will not be training events. They are intended to allow us to experience worship without having to work during worship. If you would like to know more about the retreats, please email me for details at doug@worshipmd.com.

God bless you. Take care of yourselves.

Thank you for your willingness to serve the bride of Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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