In their report “Volunteering in the United States – 2013” the U.S. Department of Labor found that the main organization for which volunteers worked the most hours during the year was religious institutions (33% of all volunteers). So people are more inclined to volunteer within the church rather than with secular organizations.
The question is whether they see their volunteering as acts of discipleship. Do we help church volunteers see the difference between performing ministry, and doing a job?
It may require that we make the following changes:
Change our language. By definition, something a volunteer does is voluntary. Something a disciple does is the expected result of loving obedience to the one he or she follows. Language drives the culture in helping people see this difference.
Change our focus. Instead of focusing on the people we need to staff our ministries, place the focus on the people God has sent us and on the God-given gifts they’re received to do ministry.
Change our emphasis. Instead of telling people how easy a task is and how little of their valuable time it will take, show them how their service in ministry will be the most valuable time they invest all week.
Change our metrics. Instead of measuring how many people are sitting in the pews, measure how many people are serving. Evaluate a ministry leader’s success by how many disciples he or she is raising up.
But be prepared: If you make these changes in your church, you’ll soon have to start dealing with the problem of leading more on-fire people than you ever imagined!