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How Do I Deal with Ineffective Workers?

A preschool worker loves children and is faithful in attendance. But every Sunday he is late. Parents
and other workers are frustrated and inconvenienced. A teacher of teenage girls is always unprepared
to teach. She is well-liked by the teens, but most Sunday School time is spent discussing schoolwork or
TV. Rarely do they get around to Bible study.
One of the most difficult problems faced by church staff members today is how to deal with ineffective
workers like these. Here are some tips about handling these delicate situations:

1. Understand why workers are ineffective.

Workers may be serving with the wrong age group.
Workers may be serving in wrong kinds of positions.
Workers may not understand what they are supposed to do.
Workers may be experiencing health or personal problems.
Workers may not have been enlisted properly.
Workers may have too many jobs in the church.

2. Deal with ineffective workers positively.

Talk with the person face-to-face.
Pray with the person.
Provide some options. In what other positions might this person serve?
Enlist people properly.
Encourage attendance at team meetings.
Compliment them on something they are doing well.
Provide all workers a list of training opportunities and encourage participation.
Show continuing concern for all workers.

3. Handle each situation constructively. Here are some guidelines you can follow:

Don't prolong the situation. You may choose to delay action because the ineffective worker is in
training or because prayerful deliberation suggests that the time for action has not yet come, but
do not put off the action you know you should take now.

When in doubt, consider the group involved. An ineffective worker in the preschool department
may demand more immediate attention than an ineffective worker in an adult men's class. Both are
important, but adults may be better able to care for themselves. Both situations need your
attention and action, but consider the group.

Consider giving the ineffective worker a leave of absence. Most ineffective workers realize they are
ineffective and that something must be done. A leave of absence may be welcomed (and it may

Provide resources workers need to be the best they can be. Make sure they have the best teaching
materials or other resources. Also provide training resources.

Continue to help ineffective workers and be patient as long as they recognize a need to change and
are willing to improve. You are a member of the church staff.

These ineffective workers are members of your team. Don't be hasty in removing them from the
positions in which they were enlisted to serve.

Only when all else has failed and the worker feels no need for improvement should he or she be
relieved of his or her responsibility. Take this action with love and yet firmness. Striving for
excellence in the ministries of your church is important, but remember that you are dealing with a

Remember, the worker probably knows he or she is ineffective but feels he or she made a
commitment and must abide by that. Work with the person to come up with a win-win solution.
As Goes the Sunday School,
So Goes the Church!
Make a Commitment to Grow!
Sunday School Growth requires taking the Long View!
Making a Commitment to Grow requires the intentional, interventional leadership of the pastor with
the enthusiastic support and partnership of the church leadership team.

Sunday School growth requires effective leaders who plan thoroughly and keep people informed.
Making a commitment to grow requires dynamic leadership of a dedicated, faithful, trained and "out-
front" Sunday School Director who values building an effective Bible teaching-reaching leadership

Effective Class Outreach Leaders are essential!

Sunday School growth is facilitated by the weekly work of class outreach leaders who maintain an up-
to-date prospect file, make weekly assignments, and expect written visitation-contact reports every

A commitment to Sunday School growth results in ongoing "positive church talk."

When a church is committed to reach new people and its members are excited about inviting others,
everywhere members go they talk positively about their church, their staff, their Bible study program,
and their fellow members and leaders.

Growing Sunday Schools are "others-focused" instead of "inwardly centered."

Sunday School growth can be stymied and grind to a halt if members or leaders focus inward rather
than outward. Sunday School classes need to be "open" groups where newcomers are genuinely
welcomed, made to feel wanted, and assimilated into the group. Focus on "Our Wants" should be
replaced by "Their Needs."

Growing Sunday Schools refuse to be limited either by time or place.

Growing Sunday Schools are alert to opportunities to create new units, both inside the church building
and in locations across the community. Nor is time of day or day of week a limiting factor. While Sunday
morning may continue to be the primary Bible study time in many churches, new Bible study groups can
be started any day of the week to meet at any time of day or night, to meet in various places such as
private homes, apartment club rooms, or restaurants.