Ahh...the Vacationing Life of a Church Volunteer

You might think this Fertilizer is about how to find enough people to schedule a complete band this summer...with everyone on vacation and all.

It’s...maybe related, but it’s not.

If you’ve ever lamented "I can’t ask any more of my team...they’re only volunteers," then read on.

If you’re one of the many worship leaders that has groaned about your volunteers, I apologize on behalf of whatever colossal failure the church has committed in not giving you better context for what this whole church thing is all about.

See, the church does not have volunteers. Only servants. I think the idea, the nomenclature of "volunteers" is one of the many things that has slipped into our culture due to the church’s altruistic nature. Sure, every team member is in some sense volunteering to serve, but I think in a truer sense, we’re only responding to the call to serve. It may seem subtle, but it has huge implications.

Like having rights.
Like deserving thanks.
Like not being subject to standards.
Like thinking "they should just be glad I show up."
Like not needing to be open to contructive feedback.

You know, implications.

So, if "volunteer" is not the best description for your team members, what is? I’m reading through Corinthians and was struck by a description that Paul gives of himself as a "Servant" in 2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:4-10‬. Oh that this list would describe our worship and tech teams!

  • Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:
  • in great endurance;
  • in troubles, hardships and distresses;
  • in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
  • in purity, understanding, patience and kindness;
  • in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
  • in truthful speech and in the power of God;
  • with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
  • through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report;
  • genuine, yet regarded as impostors;
  • known, yet regarded as unknown;
  • sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
  • poor, yet making many rich;
  • having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

‭‭So beautiful! It has such the ring of freedom, doesn’t it? Sounds like such a high calling. So counter-church-cultural. Is it different than what we might think of when referring to our team?

I was looking at my concordance for the term "Volunteer," it goes from "Voice" to "Vomit." ;P Do I think you should stop using "Volunteer" when you refer to your team or to yourself and call yourself "servants" instead? Maybe, but more interesting and important than what I think is "What would your team say if you’d have a discussion about this scripture and the nature of what a volunteer is versus a servant?"

I’d love to hear about it!


ps. Yes, I left some of the phrases out of this list (in beatings, imprisonments and riots; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed) because...I did.