Humble Volunteers: The Secret Sauce in Your Ministry

One of our staff members at Elevation used to work at Chic-fil-A. He claims to know the secret about how they make the chicken taste so delicious. He shared it with me. Interesting theory. Sorry, I’m sworn to secrecy.

People have asked me quite a few times over the several years something like this:

What is the secret sauce that has helped Elevation to grow rapidly and make a big impact?

Obviously, the secret sauce is Jesus.

But that’s not what they’re asking. They’re looking to learn how Jesus through the Holy Spirit is working through us in a specific, tangible way.

Additionally, it always feels funny to try to explain what you’re doing right when you know there are so many areas where you want to do so much better.

With that said, I do think there’s a secret sauce that you would discover if you spent some time behind the scenes at Elevation Church. It’s something that I’ve seen God bless over and over again- not just in our church, but in churches, businesses, and families all over the world. And it has nothing to do with my preaching or the Sunday morning worship experience.

The secret sauce? It’s the humility of the volunteers on our team.

By humility, I don’t mean sheepishness. When I say I’m inspired by the humility of our team, here’s what I mean:

They submit their pride and preferences to God’s plans and purposes, and deflect the glory to Jesus.

  • Our creative team has had to completely scratch a finished product that took them hundreds of hours to create because it wasn’t the best thing for the worship experience.
  • Our ushers have had to respond with kindness to angry parents who dropped F-bombs when they were asked to leave the auditorium with a crying baby so that people could hear the Gospel undistracted.
  • Our worship leaders have practiced and performed many songs they didn’t personally like with a great attitude and wholehearted effort because it best supported the message.
  • Our volunteer leaders have accepted hard correction about the way to lead their teams, made the adjustments, and come back the next week, even though they’re not paid to.
  • In the administrative department- I walked through and saw 7 people in Volunteer Headquarters pounding away on keyboards, entering first time guest data just moments before I wrote this. Very few people have any clue about the hard, tedious work they do. But that’s not why they do it.

And on and on.

Elevation team- thanks for serving up the good stuff with humility every week.

You’re the secret sauce that God uses to make this thing so special.

Read more from Steven here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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Illustrating How Elevation Church Tells Its Mission Story

“So that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ.” That is the mission of Elevation Church. It’s the reason we exist. We want to present the Gospel and allow people to respond.

For our series Raised to Life, we gave those who hadn’t, the chance to stand with Jesus and be baptized. That day. Right there on the spot. No hesitations, no excuses. And as the saying goes, “We can show you better than we can tell you.”

– Pastor Steven Furtick

>> Click on the image below to play video.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 4.05.15 PM

 

Elevation Church understands the importance of Intentional Communication. As the video above illustrates, they are clear about their mission and are creative in delivering it to a media-savvy, graphics-saturated world.

With minimal words, quietly inspiring music, and powerful images, Elevation Church understands how to communicate vision visually.

What about your church?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

7 Reasons Your Church Should Create an Annual Report

You’ve heard of annual reports, but have you thought of creating one for your church? The point of course is not to imitate a common corporate practice, but to leverage every opportunity to cast vision. As we scan a few reasons why you should do this, let’s start with a definition.

Wiki: An annual report is a comprehensive report on a company’s activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the company’s activities and financial performance. The details provided in the report are of use to investors to understand the company’s financial position and future direction.

Why you should leverage this communication tool:

#1 An annual report creates a great “excuse” to cast vision. Most people know what an annual report is, but don’t expect their church to provide one. Why not leverage the “placeholder in their mind” to make  a positive impact?

#2 An annual report utilizes a natural rhythm for reflection and refocus. Remember, God created the cycle of a year. Since you use the year to define everything else in your life, why not use it to nourish the vision for people in the church?

#3 An annual report is a great tool to retell your best stories. Hopefully you’ve been sharing stories of life change throughout the year. Now tell them again. As a leader, it’s important to know your “folklore-” the stories of God that are worth sharing over and over and over.

#4 An annual report is an act of gratitude toward God. What if you saw the process like writing a thank you note to God? Even if your church didn’t have the best year, you have something for which you can express gratitude to God. Use the report to honor God and point people to Jesus.

#5 An annual report is a helpful accountability mechanism. I get that fact that accountability is not always fun. Sometimes you don’t like prepping sermons. But this Sunday keeps you accountable. Chances are, no one is going to wake up and bug you for that 2015 annual report. That’s what makes this point a big deal. You can initiate the commitment and hold yourself and your team accountable to this kind of vision casting.

#6 An annual report builds credibility with people. While an annual report is not everyone’s “love language,” some people will take a giant step forward because you took the time to provide this tool. It shows the leadership’s  willingness to be honest with financial information and communicates the deeper “whys” behind ministry decisions and direction.

#7 An annual report is a perfect project to experiment with some new talent and creativity. Since this communication tool is not weekly or urgent, you can recruit some people who are new or uninvolved and see what they produce. If you haven’t done a report, you have nothing to loose by trying. Ask them for something fresh and different. Here are a few examples of reports to get the creative minds sparked.

> Read more from Will.


Would you like to learn more about the process of creating annual reports for your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

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Don Mann — 02/01/16 3:07 pm

We plan to publish the online report during November to strengthen the case for strong end of year giving. http://annualreport.calvarynow.com/

7 Ways to Have “The Talk” Sooner, Rather Than Later | Launch Clarity — 05/19/14 6:04 am

[…] the impact… Many churches have created year-end reports that show graphically and numerically exactly where giving goes. A picture is worth a thousand […]

Bob Wriedt — 01/03/14 1:36 pm

We did a report for the first time this year, and we based it on our five values we identified through the Church Unique process. http://www.gracesealbeach.org/#/resources-and-sermons/grace-report-2013

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

When the Light Comes On: Creatively Using the Power of Story for Your Church’s Worship

Stories move us. They engage us. They inspire us. Stories give us examples of how to act – and how not to act. The best ones stay with us forever.

How can you use the power of story for your church’s worship? Here are two powerful examples: the simplicity of a verbal  story and the imagery of a visual story. Enjoy – and learn.         – Vision Room Curator

 

When the Light Comes On

My oldest daughter isn’t sleeping well. It’s the dark. From fear of what might be under her bed, to who might be looking through her window, she has her reasons for preferring the lights on.

In fact, she has started a new nightly routine. After the house is settled and her parents are quiet, presumably asleep, she secretly slips out of her room to flip on the nearby hallway light and then returns to bed. Somehow she finds a measure of comfort from the crease of light between the floor and the bottom of her door.

But she shouldn’t be doing this. The rule is to stay in bed. And a few nights ago I caught her red-handed.

I was standing quietly in the dark hall and heard her scurrying around behind her door. She didn’t know I was there, and I suspected she was going to pull the hall light stunt. Sure enough, the door slowly cracked open. I have her, I thought. But she didn’t move. She didn’t come turn on the light. She was frozen. There, inside the frame of her door, she peered in silence at me, a black silhouette of a stranger for all she knew. Then she started to cry. I quickly flipped the light switch. “Sweetie, it’s me,” I said, picking her up in my arms. And just like that, she was fine. The light was on. She saw who I was. I hugged her with love.

The whole scene transformed when the light came on. That light uncovered my identity. Once blinded by darkness, she soon discovered that the figure in the hallway, appearing bigger and stronger than her, was actually her dad who loves her and would spend his every conceivable resource to protect her.

Revelation was the key. She had to see who I was.

God in the Dark

Do you remember what it is like to be in the dark with God?

So much of our lives — and the entire lives of some — are spent hauntingly aware of some strange presence down a pitch-black hallway. We know he is there. We recognize some silhouette of deity. We see some figure of a being our conscience says is bigger and stronger. But we don’t truly know him. And we won’t truly know him unless he turns on the light. Unless he reveals himself.

The prophets of Baal know what it’s like to be in the dark. In one of the saddest scenes in all of Scripture, 1 Kings 18:28–29, hundreds of these prophets gathered to see their god. It was a historic showdown between Elijah, the Lord’s prophet, and 450 “spokesmen” for the false god Baal. The petition was simple: send fire from heaven. Whoever answers is the true God (1 Kings 18:24). And so the prophets of Baal stepped up to the plate.

And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. (1 Kings 18:26)

That’s not a good start. So they tried harder. The Bible tells us that they cried aloud and cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out (1 Kings 18:28). Until the middle of the day, they limped around bleeding and crying out for their god to hear them, to say something. Imagine that scene: 450 wounded, weeping prophets sliced up their flesh in hopes of receiving the slightest gesture from their god.

“But there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29).

They were stuck in the dark. There was nothing to see. There is no light to reveal a no-god. The abiding darkness answers itself.

We Have a Different Story

But there’s no such darkness between the Christian and his Lord. That’s not our story. In fact, it’s the reverse. Rather than 450 prophets with wounds all over their bodies and their blood gushing out, we see our God hanging on a cross with wounds all over his body, his blood gushing out. Rather than the horrific scene of fools seeking to hear from a false god, we see the most preeminent display of love when the real God spoke to a world of fools.

We were in the dark. We deserved nothing more. And then, in unspeakable grace, the sovereign God of the universe reached up to turn on the light — “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

His voice intruded the defeated darkness. He reached down and picked us up in his arms. “It’s me,” he said. And then we learn that this God, bigger and stronger than we could ever imagine, hasn’t spared his greatest resource to not only protect us but ensure our everlasting joy (Romans 8:32).

The light is on. We see who he is. We don’t have to be afraid.

Read more from Jonathan here.

 

Elevation Creative: Elijah on Mount Carmel

During our series IN•FIN•8, we’re looking back at eight of the greatest stories forever told. To introduce each week’s sermon, our Creative Team retells one of these stories from a different perspective, in an attempt to recapture the power and impact of hearing for the first time. For part three, we combined spoken word with step-dancing to tell the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel in a dramatic new way.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Parnell

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their three children: Elizabeth, Hannah, and Micah.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

A Vision Backer’s Audition

The other week I saw an interesting facet about the production of plays that I think applies beautifully to the all-important practice of casting vision.

Sometimes a new play or film needs outside investment to get off the ground. When this is the case, the creators and organizers of it make a small presentation of the play called a backers’ audition for a group of people who could fund it.

If they win support, the production goes forward. If not, it stalls or falls apart.

When it comes to casting the vision God has put in our hearts, every time we’re presenting it to people it’s like a backers’ audition. Every person you cast your vision to isn’t just a person you’re informing about what you’re doing. They’re people who could potentially back it. Be a part of it. Invest their lives into it. And therefore make it happen. Or make it stall or fall apart if they don’t get behind it.

And we’re not just talking about their money. But also their time. Their energy. Even their lives.

Are we approaching these opportunities with our best shot or are we just throwing it together and hoping it sticks?

In the early days of your vision, you can’t just hope that it sticks. Otherwise, it’s never going to get off the ground. The key differentiating factor between visions that become a reality and those that remain good ideas are backers.

Everyone has passion for their own vision. But it’s those who can instill it into other people who see it come to pass.
Everyone is willing to throw money at their own vision. But it’s those who can get others to do the same who eat past the first month.

What God has called you to do is too important to give a mediocre presentation of it. When you’re presenting and casting your vision, always put your best foot forward. You never know, these could be the people you spend the rest of your life with chasing the dream God has placed inside of you. Don’t let them walk away easily because of poor presentation.

Before you give your next backers’ audition, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the presentation of your vision compelling?
  • Is it sticky?
  • Is the vision clear? Could they sum it up and give it back to you after you’re done?
  • Is your presentation of it so short that people can’t get the full picture of what you want to do? Or so long that they lose interest long before you’re done?
  • After hearing it, is it something people would want to sacrifice for just to be a part of it?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.