For most of my working career I have had the privilege of managing managers, owners, middle-managers, and so on. I write that statement tongue-in-cheek, given that I have been a frontline low-level employee throughout the years. I affectionally call myself the Chief-Grunt-in-Charge-of-Nothing. While the managers sometimes run around contradicting each other due to a lack of ability to get on the same page, I correspondingly find myself in the position of managing their expectations, putting up with their scoldings, and generally growing in frustration. It tends to happen in work places where there are more managers than frontline workers. Over the years, however, I have learned to speak up for myself and express my concerns, even my frustration.
Is it any different in the church? Frontline volunteers who help at various levels in our churches can become frustrated with conflicting priorities among pastoral staff and supervisors. Many of them simply will opt out of future involvement rather than continuing to put up with the lack of clarity. Very few will attempt to work through it proactively, helping to improve the situation.
Is your church a safe place for people to express their frustration? Are you a safe person whom they can approach? Or is there a culture of control in the church? Do you get defensive when individuals approach you with their frustrations and concerns?
The answers to these questions may help you to gain insight concerning why some people choose to cease volunteer ministry involvement in your church, rather than working through problems they may be facing.