The Church Was Designed To Be A Volunteer Organization

There is tremendous power in the church. This is especially realized when every member understands the privilege of using their unique gifts and experiences to move the church forward in mission.

Church leaders must become great at caring for volunteers in ministry. In the book Volunteer Revolution, these questions were listed as a way for leaders to grow a culture of volunteers:

  • Are we caring for our volunteers properly?
  • Are we providing the right training?
  • Is there a better way we could recruit?
  • What are the faithful volunteers in our church actually experiencing?
  • Are our volunteers growing spiritually?
  • Do they feel like an integral part of the team?
  • Are they energized by the overall vision of our church?

A great volunteer culture never happens by accident!

Yes, we do need great volunteers, but it begins with quality leaders who understand how important it is to nurture and cultivate great volunteer opportunities and framework.

Here are a couple of crucial things:

Don’t waste his or her time – Volunteers are giving their time and if coordinators waste it, they are breaking the cardinal sin! We don’t want people feeling like they are there for no reason! But we also want to be careful we don’t overload them, either.

Volunteers need to be reminded what they are doing is important! In his book, Three Signs Of A Miserable Job, Pat Lencioni says we need to:

  • Let people know that we know they are there,
  • We need to let them know that what they are doing matters
  • We need to give them a way to see that what they are doing is working and succeeding!

The current model for far too many churches is a hired pastor and staff in place, expected to “do” ministry while the congregation becomes passive spectators. At times they may take part in some menial task that doesn’t motivate them or give them hands-on experience in life-transforming, kingdom work. The blame falls on both the ministry leader and the congregation member!

When called upon to serve, the congregation usually quietly protests, saying in effect, “this is why we have you!” But this isn’t biblical. Every believer is a priest!

They are in effect saying, as the author of Volunteer Revolution puts it, “You’re here to help me feel fulfilled! Feed me. Grow me. Fix my kids. Teach me. Pray for me! And the unfortunate truth in many of these cases, if this isn’t done to the expected consumer standard, the church member will go down the street to another church to see if they will pay more attention.

Volunteer Revolution, Hybels

You can’t possibly build a God honoring church with a congregation full of consumers. Neither can you build a church without teachers, leaders and pastors equipping!

Are you calling your congregation to serve?

Are you creating opportunities for God to work through others to participate in transforming, Spirit-filled ministry?

Are you encouraging those who currently volunteer in ministry?

The church was designed to be a volunteer organization! Let’s keep dreaming of ways to invite others to take on the mantle of the mission and ministry and become expert leaders of volunteers!


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2 Responses

  1. Bonnie S Grotjan

    What I hear God saying as I read is the church was designed to be a family. Every member of the family must play a part. Some will function as mothers and fathers. Some will function as grandparents. Some as aunts and uncles. Some as children- from childishness to sharing in activities with the “parents” until they can manage work with increasing autonomy. We feel fulfilled when we are in family, part of a bigger venture, and know we are loved regardless pf outcomes at the same time as “dad or mom” are inspiring us with vision for the outcome.

  2. good thought! you’re always such a deep thinker Bonnie!

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