Hospitality/Baptism A-Team News Letter for October 2022
What is the church? It’s a place where the lost are found, the tired are renewed, the lonely find community, and the brokenhearted are healed. The place where the family of God worships together. The church changes lives, and those changed lives change the world. The heart of the church…large, small, or medium…is its people.
And the heart of its people are its volunteers. That’s you!
You are essential, even vital, to creating growth and new ministries. You are the key to introducing people of all ages to Jesus Christ. You welcome with smiles at the doors, pray for needs, teach Bible classes, mentor others, stuff bulletins, organize mission trips, set up for baptisms, help during special events and on and on. Churches that have strong volunteer teams create healthy and strong church growth.
What’s Our Model?
Jesus was the ultimate volunteer. As the eternal Son of God, he volunteered to become human and to serve us by dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Jesus declared his purpose in life; “The son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). As Christians, seeking to become like Jesus, we serve others – often through volunteering.
Whenever Jesus connected with people, he usually began by speaking to their desires. Hungry people wanted food. Blind, leprous and lame people wanted healing. Curious people wanted to learn and to hear Jesus tell stories. The theologians and religious leaders wanted answers to their questions. Just about everyone wanted to see miracles. Jesus knew the people around him had needs, including eternal needs that extended beyond their wants. But often he began by addressing their desires.
What’s Your Motivation?
There are many reasons why people volunteer, and I don’t assume that we know those reasons. But we do have some ideas based on people who have shared their stories. Some people volunteer out of generosity or gratitude for God’s blessings. Others may volunteer out of selfishness, guilt, shame or a sense of obligation. Some really don’t think about why they volunteer; they just do it. I believe it is helpful to think about our motivations, to understand some of our reasons behind why we serve. In fact, I think it’s crucial. Our personal needs and desires are powerful motivators.
There are people that may come through our doors looking for a friend. They may not be interested, at first, in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So we are to get to know them. We learn what they are looking for and start with their desires.
Is it a group that can help their marriage? Are they looking for sobriety? Are they grieving a loss? Maybe they just want to connect with others their age, or a men’s group, women’s group, youth, young adult, married, single, XYZ’s, etc. God created us as social beings in His image, so of course we need friends and meaningful relationships with others. God designed us to be together, not all by ourselves.
Could this be why many people offer to volunteer? Are they lonely, do they want to be connected, or are they looking for friends? You may not realize it, but as a volunteer here at Grace, you are making a difference not just in the lives of those you serve, but in the lives of those you serve with. You can experience a God connection as you intersect in someone’s life. We can also see in the book of Acts many stories of volunteers and the different motives behind what they did and how they did it. I want to encourage you to read the book of Acts with the lens of a servant.
But, beyond our own serving, we have a biblical responsibility to help other people serve. When we provide service opportunities, when we recruit, train, and support volunteers, we are actually making disciples, teaching them to do what Jesus did. We dare not deprive Christians of this, but we also need to help them see that volunteering is a gift from God to help them grow and become like Christ. Even when we seem to have enough help, we still need to welcome in those that want to volunteer. We need to help them find a place to begin and belong. Volunteering is one of the primary ways that we become like Christ. Serving others in this way is vitally important.
I’d like to challenge you to be thinking about your volunteer role here at Grace. Do you see it as a gift from God? Do you see it as an opportunity to be like Jesus? Are you ready to step into your next serve time with a heart that recognizes the value and importance of your role?
Know this: you are amazing! God himself has called you to this place and gifted you to be a part of this body. He wants you to use your gifting for His glory and your enjoyment. For those of you that have gotten a little stale in your heart when it comes to serving, I pray God re-energizes you and re-ignites your heart to serve with joy and kingdom purpose. I encourage you to take some time before the Father. Ask Him to give you even more zeal for Him and His word.
Thank you for serving here at Grace Church and for being a part of our A-Team. I love you guys!
In His Grace and Service,