LEADERSHIP: How to deal with a negative team member

Have you noticed that happy people tend to enjoy volunteering and serving with others.
However, it can be difficult to stay positive when you are around someone who is super negative all the time.

In life there are all types of people such as optimists, realists, pessimists, and opportunists.

Therefore, it should not be a surprise that we have different types of people serving in our children’s ministries.

We operate as a team, so whatever is effecting one person on the team usually seeps into the other members that are serving.

This begs the question: How do I deal with a negative team member?

In some cases, MULTIPLE negative team members!

I am not talking about dealing with someone who is having a bad day, but a team member whose demeanor, actions, and words give off negative vibes.

I believe in this situation there are multiple angles we can utilize to deal with negative team members, but which one we use depends on the type of person.

Each team member is unique and requires a different style.

First, it begins with us as leaders approaching the negative member on our team.

This does not happen BEFORE a service but in a meeting outside the weekend. In this initial contact we are doing what John Maxwell calls “seeking to understand before being understood”.

As a leader I would be foolish to talk with a negative team member without first understanding their situation. We want to know what is going on and give them the chance to talk it out.

Usually this will get to the root of the issue and absolve any negative feelings they are feeling.

Second, it is important that we emphasize during our team meetings unity and how valuable each person is to the children’s ministry team.

Communicating unity places an emphasis on the team and that if someone doesn’t feel like they are a fit we are more than happy to help them find another area of ministry to serve where they do find joy at the church.

When we bring value into the equation it communicates to everyone that we appreciate their time and efforts in our children’s ministries.

Third, we continue to pray for our team members and their lives.

We pray for our weekend services, pastors, families, but do we take the time to pray for our team members and their situations?

When we commit to pray for our teams God will start working in their lives even greater than He already is!

In the end we also have more love for them as a person and the vital part they play on our children’s ministry team.

Finally, regardless if the approach you take is like mine it is important that you deal with negative team members QUICKLY.


I can give you a list of reasons why you should deal with it quickly…

  • It has an immediate impact on the serve team in the children’s ministry
  • It effects their interactions with children and parents.
  • It is a disruption to the presence of God if they are a part of the stage ministry.
  • It is also the starting point of division within the children’s ministry team.

What are some ways you’ve dealt with negative team members in the past?

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