Volunteer Culture: Debunking the Myth that Volunteering Takes More Time – Part 3

When your church decides to intentionally develop a culture where it’s normal to volunteer, where it’s natural to serve, it’s easy to make it all about the task. And when it’s all about the task, we can make it all about our church. It’s all too easy to forget that it’s first about Jesus and people. I know – shocking. Earth-breaking. But true. Here are a couple examples.

  • The objective, the task alone drives the recruitment of volunteers. 
    • Often churches look at the ministry goals in front of them and go into recruitment mode to get the task of ministry done. And why not? We do have a mission. We have an agenda. There are clear goals with distinctive objectives that must be accomplished. However, even with clear vision cast, the task shouldn’t be the lone motivator for inviting people to serve. 
    • People matter. Inviting them to serve is an opportunity to invest in their personal development, their spiritual growth. Their participation on the team should encourage new friendships, invitations to take steps in their journey, and constant learning to live out the character of Christ as a servant.
      • Make it normal for people to connect outside of their serving time. Time to share a meal, play a game, enjoy worship, just be. 
      • Encourage conversation beyond the task: what are some steps toward Jesus we can take together as a team? What is God up to in our personal journys? Provide space for that dialog. 
      • Create intentional systematic ways to share prayer concerns. Follow up with cards, phone calls and emails. Build a culture of care in your serving environments.
  • Leaders appear arrogant about their church. 
    • Sometimes our promotion of our teams, our ministry objectives, our volunteer opportunities can sound like they are somehow more important to the kingdom than the volunteering our people are already doing in their kid’s school, their neighborhood association, the Red Cross or the community soup kitchen.
    • This past week I learned of another woman in our church who I didn’t know as a volunteer. She wasn’t part of any team. She didn’t appear to have lifted a finger to help our ministry. I was so wrong. Since being diagnosed 10 years ago with cancer, the local oncology clinic has called on her to sit with, listen to, provide encouragement to new patients who’d learned they have cancer. She’s been pulling people back from the edge of hopelessness for the past decade. She’s loved like Jesus, prayed with people, shared scripture and hugged new friends. She has volunteered her time. She’s given her life. That counts for the Kingdom. It is the Kingdom.

 Recap:

  • Invest in people; don’t merely expect them to invest in your ministry.
  • Celebrate every expression of servanthood for the Kingdom – even if it’s not in your local ministry.

 

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

More from Mark Waltz here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Waltz

Mark has spent the past 25 years serving and leading people. While many of those years were focused within the local church, he brings marketplace experience from retail management, as well as career development and training. Regardless of his work or ministry context, he is about investing in people, because he believes people really matter. Think of him as a "people advocate." A sought after consultant and trainer, Mark has helped local churches of all sizes improve their guest services experience. Today Mark serves as executive pastor at Granger Community Church where for the past fourteen years he has been a unifying force, overseeing adult relational connections, including groups, guest services and volunteer strategies. As Granger’s chief guest services practitioner he still inspires teams of volunteers who make Granger Community Church a relaxed, rejuvenating and relevant experience for members and guests. Mark also oversees Granger’s multisite campuses.

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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