A Gospel Lens for Volunteer Recruitment

I’ve rarely met a partner in ministry who would recount their situation regarding volunteer workers as being one of overflow. Typically, there is some felt need surrounding either the quantity and/or the quality, of the leaders who are seeking to step into the sheep pin with us. On the one hand – PRAISE GOD for this. The deep and consistent realization of our need is a powerful driving factor which brings our leadership to the feet of Jesus in recognition of His solely capable, sovereign hand.

There’s something very beautiful about the faithfulness of God to provide exactly what His church needs at any given time, and to be our portion when we do not have enough. And on the other hand, I can’t help but grieve over what His church is missing out on by not using their gifts in accordance with His design and command for His body.

Can you relate?

I recently read a statistic stating that 55% of weekend worship attendees have no regular or consistent involvement in volunteer roles. That’s over half your church!

In a culture where church attendance alone is already wavering, how do we help people go from spectators to participators? How do we flip the script when the Body of Christ, the Church, is more and more easily being seen as something you watch online – rather than a group of people bringing their spiritual giftings together to edify one another and bring glory to God?

I’ve wondered lately if the answer isn’t found more so in praise of God than in petition of people.

Our strategy, so often, is to attempt to present a need alongside an ask. It goes, “Hey – I have 35 rowdy middle schoolers throwing shoes at each other every time I turn my back and I need HELP. Please, can someone step up?” Sometimes we even “sweeten” the deal. “There’s pizza!”

Don’t get me wrong – authentic presentation of needs to our church family is a healthy and good thing. But, it’s not the only thing. And I would venture to say, it isn’t the more powerful thing.

Need and trivial repayment can be found around every single corner in a fallen world. There is no shortage of asks being presented to the people you lock eyes with every Sunday morning. Already, many are burnt out on the demand they feel to their time and lives – so my theory is that our asks aren’t uncared for, but rather lost in the noise of a distraction-filled life.

However, the cross offers a differentiating factor to the way we pursue human hands versus how it is done outside the church.

Because of Jesus, there is legitimate death-to-life action taking place all around us. Because of the gospel, the news that we proclaim is GOOD. Because the Holy Spirit is our down payment, ours is a powerful (though still so difficult) placement.

Don’t ignore the need, but don’t forget to allow people to taste and see the Lord. Don’t neglect to shine a spotlight on the life, goodness, and power that takes place in an environment where Christ’s death and resurrection is being presented to His teens in the wake of their sin and heartache. And don’t settle to only look directly in front of you for evidence of His Hand. The truth of Scripture is imperative for providing balance to the ebbs and flows of our own minuscule slice of time and space on this earth. In the seasons where your own heart is struggling to feel what scripture says is true about the mighty Hand of God (and even when it’s coming to life all around you), utilize the Word of God to remind yourself (and show your volunteers) who it is we strive for.

Perhaps, the greatest yield of volunteers will happen when we invite them in to witness His work rather than simply support ours.

Kristy Fry is a veteran youth worker and a content creator for the G Shades Blog. Feel free to reach out to Kristy anytime at kfry19@icloud.com!

Mike Haynes is a full-time youth pastor and the creator of G Shades Youth Ministry Curriculum. Feel free to reach out to Mike anytime over email at mike@gshades.org
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