As a pastor who is constantly looking for folks to ‘volunteer’ in the church, I wanted to share a few thoughts. Actually, I hate the term ‘volunteer’, because it denotes an idea that somehow a person is doing God and the Church a huge ‘favor’ by showing up and being available to serve. I like the term ‘servant’, because truly that is what Jesus taught us to be (John 13:14). He never called us to volunteer… He called us to serve. So… How exactly did God do it?
God chose to use people to accomplish His work. (Gen. 1:28; Eph. 4:16)
- Why then do we make excuses for people and fail to hold them accountable?
- Why do we act like serving is optional?
God has empowered people to do His work through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in giving spiritual gifts. (1 Pet. 4:9-11)
- Why do we take the attitude that anybody will do for certain areas of ministry?
- Why do we use people in ministries for which they are not gifted?
- Why do we overwork the faithful few expecting them to do it all?
God did not sit back and wait for people to volunteer but often went to extraordinary measures to recruit workers. (Ex. 3; Acts 9:3; Matt. 4:18-19, 21; 9:9)
- Why do we rely on an announcement from the pulpit?
- Why do we expect people to respond to a note in the bulletin or church newsletter?
- Why aren’t we willing to go the extra mile in our recruiting efforts?
God sees every ministry as important. (Matt. 25:14-30; 1 Cor. 12:21-26)
- Why do we de-emphasize the significance of the job through our pleas of desperation?
- Why do we communicate a lack of importance by using haphazard recruiting techniques?
- Why do we fail to consistently show appreciation for what people do?
Using God as our model for the recruitment process may drastically change the way we recruit. It will also make a difference in the results. Looking at Jesus’ life on this earth will give us perspective. Not everyone responded to His call. Some were rather antagonistic. Did that stop Him? No. He continued to do the work the Father had given Him to do.
Be faithful in following God’s ways. Leave the results to Him. Use the results to guide you in where to go from there. Heed the exhortation Jesus gave to His disciples as He looked over the sea of human need, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt. 9:35-38).
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