Oct 30, 2020

How Do You Really View Volunteers?

When you hear the word "volunteer," what comes to mind? 

Helper?

Servant?

Worker?

Faithful?

Supporter?

If you will notice, this list reflects what we want FROM our volunteers.  

But I want to encourage you to think about your volunteers in a different light. 

Instead of it being about what you can get FROM your volunteers, make it about what you want FOR your volunteers.  

We know serving is a key to spiritual growth.  So when you enlist volunteers,  you are giving them the opportunity to grow in their faith through serving.

We know serving helps people be more like Jesus.  Scripture tells us that Jesus came to "serve" and "give."  When we invite people to serve, they can go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. 

We know serving brings great joy into the life of a believer.  When we invite people to serve, we are inviting them to experience the joy of seeing God work through their life to impact others. 

We know serving gives people the opportunity to leave a legacy.  When we invite people to serve, we are giving them the opportunity to leave their mark on the world. 

In Ephesians 4, it says this...

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

It is clear in this passage, that as church leaders, we are to equip people (volunteers) for the work of the ministry. 

Why? 

The passage tells us why.  It's so volunteers can grow, be built up, mature and be in unity.

I know it is tempting to think about volunteers as someone who can fill a empty spot in a room, but see them as so much more.  You have the opportunity to help them become better disciples. 

Remember what our commission is from Jesus?

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 18

Notice what it says - we are to go and make volunteers of all nations?  No...it says "we are to go and make disciples of all nations." 

You are called to make disciples.  And that only happens when you shift your perspective from not just using a person to help the ministry.  But rather to someone whom God is giving you the opportunity to invest in.

Remember this statement:

"Instead of using people to build your ministry, use your ministry to build people."

Volunteers are the most important part of your ministry.  Your success will rise and fall on the strength of your volunteer team.

Another tip - Don't place volunteers where you need them, rather place them where they need to be.  What do most new volunteers say when you ask them what area they are interested in serving in.  Their usual response is "Wherever you "NEED" me."  And the temptation is to place them where you need them.  

You've got to flip that and do this...

"Don't place people where you need them, place them where they need to be."

When you place volunteers in a role that lines up with their passion, interest and gifting, they will thrive. 

When you highly value volunteers and see them as people God has entrusted you with, it will change your perspective about volunteers.  

When you approach people to serve, you can do so with confidence.  Knowing that you are not bothering them, but rather you are blessing them with the opportunity to grow and follow Jesus more closely. 

You can get this and other great volunteer tips in my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  It's available in ebook and paperback. 

Have a great weekend and be a blessing to the volunteers who serve with you.

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