In nearly 20 years in children’s ministry, I’ve yet to have a year that I wasn’t short volunteers at least somewhere and at some time in the ministry. I’ve read all of the articles about how to recruit and keep volunteers and basically, I’ve done just about everything short of sin to do just that. Sometimes, those strategies work and sometimes they don’t. I think, in general, it really comes down to building relationships and continuously building into those relationships with vision, leadership, and appreciation. All I have to say about that is…easier said than done!
Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe if you build into people, people will help you build out your vision, but I also know that sometimes it’s really hard work to build into people especially when we all have a million other things that we need to be doing. The trouble with most of us is that we have little margin left in our lives to add one more thing to it. So, for many people who attend our churches, volunteering is no longer an act of love and obedience and instead, it just seems like “one more thing” for them to have to do.
For those of us who are called to the work of the ministry, recruiting and keeping volunteers is the hardest thing we have to do. It takes more of us to make it happen. It takes our time, it takes a ton of emotional energy and it takes incredible patience. If we see how Jesus made it happen, you can tell the process even wore him out. He often had to get alone with God and just refresh. I’ve heard it said that ministry would be great if it wasn’t for the people. It’s a funny statement but sadly sometimes I can’t help but agree with it.
Here’s the deal, after our relationship with Jesus, we as ministry leaders are called to build into His people (the church) so we need to make that “one more thing” really more about people and less about things that distract us from those people. If you volunteer at your church, you need to make your “one more thing” more about serving the one who gave you everything and less about serving the things that distract you from Him. Be the Church!
This summer, with VBS, camps and other church activities on the very near horizon, I plan to build more into my volunteers and remind them that the “one more thing” they are doing by serving people might be the very thing that helps lead a child or youth to one true thing that really matters the most in Christ.
Make your “one more thing” matter more than the “one more thing” that doesn’t!
Ok…I’ve preached enough to myself today! Thanks for reading.