Chances are if you read my blog you attend a church or have some affiliation with a church. Whether you’re a pastor, deacon, elder, lay person or just an attendee we all have important roles in the overall picture that is God’s great plan.
God has given each individual a purpose, defined or undefined, that plays an important role in His great plan. Some folks come to understand their purpose while others have carried theirs out and not even known it. Either way, we’ll all play our designed role one way or another and there is no one role that is more important than the next in God’s eyes.
Now I know that some of you might have decided to stop reading after that last statement because you believe that I’m crazy or delusional.
“How can a pastor be as important as a volunteer usher?”
“How can a musician be as important as a nursery worker?”
Ask any pastor and if he’s honest (and let’s hope that he is) he’ll tell you the secret to success in church ministry: “You are only as good or successful as the volunteers that you have.”
Truer words have never been spoken. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve witnessed it week in and week out at the church that I attend. You truly are only as successful as the volunteers that you have.
In conversations that I’ve had with people throughout the years I often get asked “What can I do? I’m just a nobody.” First off, you’re not a nobody. God designed you for a reason. There are plenty of ways that you can serve at churches and quite frankly all volunteer positions are the most important because you are the first people who visitors see. The impression you give, the friendliness you invoke and the words that you speak are the first interaction that any visitor has with the church that you’re at. From the parking teams to the greeters and from the nursery workers to the ushers the experience you give will make or break whether a visitor stays or goes. I know you think I’m crazy, but it’s true.
I have a friend who visited a large and local church and his experience his wife and he had in the first 10 minutes was shocking. He tried to find a seat in a full, roped off auditorium and couldn’t find one. He then removed the ropes and tried to sit down, but was approached by a yelling usher not to sit there. Experiences like that can determine whether someone stays or not. What if my friend wasn’t saved like I know he is? What if that one gesture turned a lost person away from God forever? Awful, I know. I almost don’t even want to think about it, but things happen like this all over, so believe me when I say that volunteers are important!
If you’ve been struggling trying to figure out what it is exactly that God wants you to do might I suggest just starting with the small things and being faithful through serving in whatever capacity that your local church needs. And as you’re faithful in the small things God will see fit to bless you with larger responsibilities.
If you’re a member of a smaller church and you can’t seem to figure out how to reach more people effectively, might I suggest to start by looking into your volunteers and make sure everyone is serving in the right place. Sometimes you have good people in the wrong spot and they could be used more effectively somewhere else.
Hopefully we all have the mindset that church isn’t a competition to see who has the most members, but it’s a way to expand the gift of salvation to the community and the world. I promise you that if you sat down with your local pastors in the community they would tell exactly as I said earlier that volunteers are The Secret of a Successful Church.