I can imagine that there are times that an athletic coach gets frustrated with a player. Not the player who is really not that good but the player who has tremendous potential but would rather be lazy and sit the bench, drop the team or not even show up to the game. I’m not an athletic coach but I know it would drive me nuts if say I had a player with the ability of the Michael Jordan but really didn’t care about the team or the game.
As ministry leaders we run into this scenario as well. Someone on our ministry team who has the ability, the skills, to be a phenomenal minister yet they approach serving others and serving our Lord with a lackadaisical attitude. The potential is there and perhaps at one time they were hitting home runs in serving but now they are about as exciting and active as a bowl of cottage cheese. Perhaps they got burnt, burned out, overused, misused, abused, or maybe, which is often the case, they have allowed the busyness of life to become their priority rather than serving and making an impact on the lives of other believers.
Frustrating! What can we do? After all, they are volunteers. If you let this frustration remain you will soon finding it consuming your thoughts and zapping the joy out of your ministry.
Keeping this in mind (and from experience of the frustration) I have a few thoughts:
Communicate. Approach the team member, one on one, maybe over coffee and have the conversation. Express your frustration. Share your view of their incredible potential. Allow them to share their heart as well.
Call for a time out. Let the team member have a break, a sabbatical if you will, from the team. Give them a set amount of time, pick a date to get back together and find out where their passion has gone and if they are ready to fully commit to the team.
Change your focus. If you have communicated and made efforts to get the person more involved and encouraged them to serve the Lord with all their heart, mind and strength then it time to focus elsewhere. Take the time and energy and focus it on the team members who are working hard and striving to give God their best in ministry.
Create space. Make sure you are building into your daily schedule time to spend praying for the team members and their needs.