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3 Reasons Why People Don't Step Up to Lead


Leadership. It's one of the biggest factors in your ministry. It's also one of the most challenging parts of ministry. Especially when you are asking a volunteer to step up and lead other volunteers or take on more responsibilities.


This is a time when volunteers often pull back and are weary about taking on more responsibilities.

There are 3 big reasons why the volunteers in your ministry may be reluctant to step up.


Relationships. A big reason volunteers don't take on more responsibility is because they are afraid it may hinder the relationships they have with other volunteers.


What to do: Carefully select the people you are considering to move up into more leadership and help them understand the importance of being a servant leader. People don't follow a title. They follow someone they love and respect.


I recall a church where I was the children's pastor several years ago. The church was multi-site so much of my weekend was spent visiting the campuses and looking for ways we could improve. At one of the campuses there was a preschool coordinator who was amazing. Each time I visited, all of the rooms she oversaw were full of smiling volunteers.


I asked her what she was doing to have such happy volunteers. Here response was this.


I don't have volunteers - I have friends.

Wow. I got it. The reason why people were happy to volunteer with her was because she had done the work of establishing close relationships with her volunteers. And it was obvious by the way they responded to her.


As you move volunteers up into more leadership, make sure you help them get a clear picture of what it means to be a servant leader. If you can show the volunteers you really care about them not just for what they can offer as a volunteer, but rather for who they are as a person, they will respond to you.


Perceived Attitude. Some people are hesitant about stepping into more responsibility because they believe it will cause other volunteers to think badly of them. They don't want to seem like a "know-it-all" or bossy or condescending.


What to do: This is another great opportunity to invest in volunteers and help them see what real leadership is all about. Point them to the leadership style of Jesus. Help them understand that leading like Jesus means being a humble, teachable leader.


These type situations give you the opportunity to be a leadership mentor for your key volunteers. Let them walk with you for 6 months or even a year so they can get a good picture of how to lead well.

This means, you as a leader, should be pouring into 2-3 volunteers that you see leadership qualities in. The bottom line is this is a great opportunity for you as a leader to model leadership and reproduce it in the volunteers you are wanting to move up in leadership.


Fear of Failure. Other volunteers are hesitant about stepping up because they are afraid they will fail. They are afraid they would be held personally responsible if the group or area they watch over made a mistake.

What to do: This is another great teaching and equipping opportunity. Set clear expectations for the role. Define the wins for them. Provide them with ongoing feedback. Set them up for some easy wins when they first start in their new responsibilities. This will give them confidence moving forward.


I can't emphasize enough how important it is to not just raise up volunteers, but also volunteer leaders who lead other volunteers.


This will give your team a level of care and support that they can't get with just one person leading.


I want to encourage you to start thinking about this today. Who are the 2-3 people in your ministry who you can really step up into more leadership and make a bigger impact?


Write down their names and go for it.

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