Volunteerism – nothing much would happen at the church without volunteers, so why is it so difficult getting people to step up and lend a hand? Some studies suggest that people do not serve because they have not been asked? Not sure about how to respond to this one, because what part of the Great Commission are we leaving out? We don’t ask people to sell all they have and move to Africa for the sake of the gospel, we simply need people to set up chairs at 9:00 each Sunday, and care for children and preschoolers at 9:45 or 11:00.
I was reading Andee Mark’s article, The Un-Interview, today. She says we need more than an “interview” with potential volunteers, we need meaningful conversations with them. People will give many excuses for not serving, mostly because we all carry false assumptions (ideas and expectations) about ourselves and about others.
I believe one of the most destructive assumptions is that we are consumers at the church. We won’t admit it but I feel it is totally true. When it’s all about me, I want and expect others to do the work so I can just sit back and enjoy. It’s about customer service, I’m the customer so those around me are here to serve (me).
When people say they don’t have time for volunteering:
As ministry leaders, this is the excuse we most often hear from someone who is unwilling to serve in ministry. Rather than pull our hair in frustration, what if we view this as a clue to what God wants to do in that person’s life, and embrace it as an opportunity to engage in spiritual direction… that is, creating space for this person to grow in their understanding of God? (Andee Marks)
As a leader, we need to recognize wrong assumptions and start addressing them, in our own lives and in the lives of the people we serve with. In doing so, we can help people to grow out their consumer mentality. What about the following false assumptions that people may have about serving in the church?
- The church doesn’t need help.
- I have nothing of value to offer.
- There are other people more qualified to serve than me.
- Serving will require time or skills I don’t possess.
- I will be asked to serve in an area they don’t enjoy.
- I feel that I have already served enough, it’s time to step aside.
Talking about these openly and honestly will help others realize that God may have more in store for them than what they assumed.
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