Dealing With Team Fatigue

Dealing With Team Fatigue
February 4, 2014 Don Simmons

Joan is one of those faithful servants that every church would want. She has a great attitude, is enthusiastic about the church’s mission and direction, and she is communicative and fun. Joan is also ready to quit.

Joan is not alone, but represents people in churches everywhere. What is the root issue here, and how can Joan’s church best serve her and respond to her concerns?

Let’s look at some possible issues that may be present:

Joan’s team may not be functioning with a team covenant. A team covenant allows for open communication, a guideline for being with teammates. A good covenant would encourage Joan’s concerns to be aired with the team first, so that the team can modify or adapt to better serve every member. Joan’s team may not have seen the need to develop a covenant, especially since they had such an experienced leader like Joan. That may be their error—every healthy team needs a covenant.

Joan’s ministry description may not have designated a term limit and a definite time period for her service. Many times team members feel trapped on teams, not knowing when their service is complete and sensing that the only way out is to quit. Joan may need a season of rest from all service—not just this team—and an effective equipping system will be as interested in giving Joan a break from service as they are in finding a spot for her to serve.

Joan’s team and church leadership may not have recognized Joan for her service and contributions. It is easy to overlook healthy, serving volunteers by assuming that they neither need nor desire recognition. That’s a major error in judgment on the part of leadership. EVERY volunteer deserves recognition that is personal, authentic, and frequent.
Joan’s team and church leadership may not have provided ample opportunities for reflection and may not have encouraged Joan to connect her service with her faith journey and spiritual development.

Joan may be a member of a team that’s not a good fit for her because there wasn’t an intentional process for discovery, matching, and placement. The spiritual gift mix of the members may be complementary and look good on paper, but we can often overlook the importance of personal chemistry and behavioral style in developing teams.

Joan may be experiencing subtle and unspoken personality conflict that can diminish any ministry team. Team fatigue is real and should be expected. If teams are only concerned with their agenda and getting the work done, team fatigue can be expected. When a team spends time doing intentional community-building and learning to care for one another as individuals, team fatigue can be minimized.

Teams are too important to doing ministry in our churches to allow team fatigue to go unchecked. Check the well-being of your ministry teams and see if it’s time for a tune-up.