Last week I said “God has called me to not only involve those who want to volunteer, but to involve those who don’t want to volunteer as well. And you know what? God has given you that calling too!” Now I know that that is a bold statement, so before you hyperventilate, let me explain why I believe the Bible tells us so.
What’s Most Important?
The Bible speaks of a time when a Pharisee came to Jesus to ask Him which commandment of the Law was most important (Matthew 22:36-39 NIV). Now personally, I say that’s a great question (even if the motives of this Pharisee weren’t the purest). After all, my inquiring mind tells me that if there is one thing that God wants me to be doing above all else, I want to know what it is so I can make sure that I am doing it! Well, believe it or not, Jesus gave the Pharisee an answer. He told him that there were not one, but two commands. The first and greatest was to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second one, which was like it, was to love your neighbor as yourself.
There you have it. The Top Two. The Twin Towers of power. The Two Beacons of light that will guide us in our deepening walk with God. Jesus said, and I paraphrase, “So you want to be obedient? OK, then love God in your actions, in your words, in your thoughts and in your worship; and love others as much as you love yourself.”
Yeah…not so much. Especially that “love your neighbor as yourself” statement. That’s a tough command for all of us, and it’s one we usually try to sweep under the rug and casually act like it’s not there. The problem, however, is that we can’t do that, because without obeying this second command we will not grow spiritually.
Grow in Love
To show you what I mean let’s turn to the book of Ephesians, chapter four (Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV). Here Paul says that all baby believers should desire to grow and become mature under the head of Christ. In real life babies are cute and cuddly…for a while. Soon however we expect those babies to grow up, assume responsibility for themselves and become fully functioning members of the family. This is true for us spiritually as well. Paul says we must grow and mature as a member of God’s family (His body) so that we can assume responsibility for ourselves and become functioning members of that family.
To make this happen Paul says that we must grow and build ourselves up in love. Love for who? Why the very ones Jesus commanded us to love of course! Love for God and love and others!
Interesting huh? If we merge the divinely inspired words of Paul with the words of Jesus we discover that in order to mature, each of us must grow and build ourselves up in our love for God, AND each of us must grow and build ourselves up in our love for others.
But we’re still not done yet, we have one more question. How do we grow and build ourselves up in this love? Paul gives us the answer. We grow and build ourselves up in love as we WORK. And that my friends is the hard part. We must work at loving God (through Bible study, prayer, obedience, church attendance, etc) and we must work at loving others (through acts of kindness and service). If we do this God promises us that we will grow and become a mature part of the body of Christ that He will use to do His work.
OK, so you might be asking “what does this have to do with recruiting volunteers?”. My answer…Everything! If we can fully understand the process involved in becoming a mature believer it will completely change the way we recruit volunteers. Let me explain. Our job as Children’s Leaders is two fold. To bring children into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to bring to maturity the leaders who serve alongside us in completing this task. In God’s eyes, one is not more important than the other…they are equal. Someday I believe we will all stand before God and be accountable for the children He placed in our care. But I also believe we will be held accountable for the adults He put in our church that He wanted us to help grow and become mature by getting them involved in serving others. What a privilege it is to be a children’s leader! God has chosen you to have the greatest opportunity to help people mature in their walk because you have been afforded the place with the greatest need for people to be serving in the church, the ministry to children! We need to keep this in mind when recruiting volunteers. There is no other area in the church that has as many service opportunities (opportunities that will cause a person to grow and mature) as what the Preschool and Children’s ministries have to offer. We should rejoice in the fact that God has given us this privilege of being so involved in the maturation of others (and the rewards in Heaven for doing so)!
So here it is in a nutshell. If I truly believe that people only grow and mature when they are loving God and loving others, then it is my responsibility to help them to accomplish both. My job is not to do the work of the ministry all by myself, my job is to give the ministry over to God’s people so they can become mature as they serve. In a very real sense I am more of an administer than I am a minister. My job is to organize and provide opportunities where people can can work at loving God and work at loving others! This is a great task!
When I ask a volunteer to serve, I shouldn’t go to them with hat in hand asking them to do me a favor by serving in the Children’s Ministry. Instead I should go to them boldly telling them that I want to do them a favor by getting them involved. If I have this attitude, I will now see recruiting volunteers in a whole new light. When I ask someone to volunteer, I will not feel guilty about putting them out, or about bothering them. Instead I will see their life as my responsibility, given to me by God, to grow and mature through service. I will say “I love you enough to keep asking you over and over and over because I know that if you don’t serve, you won’t grow. And I love you too much to let that happen.”
I hope you can now see that if a volunteer is to ever reach their full potential, they need to lead a balanced spiritual life. If a person’s only focus in life is to love God by feeding on His Word, then that person will become spiritually obese. However, if a person only focuses on serving others, that person will burn out due to a lack of spiritual nutrition. Everyone in the church needs to be doing both; loving God AND loving others. When they do, the Bible promises us that they will become a mature part of the body of Christ, ready to do even more of His work. When that happens, we will have all the volunteers we will need.
So challenge yourself this week to personally ask at least two people to come volunteer in your ministry. And remember – it’s not, “Do me a favor,” it’s “Let me do you a favor – come volunteer”!