Volunteer Culture: Debunking the Myth that Volunteering Takes More Time – Part 1

I’m often asked what it takes to move a local church from staff-led ministry to ministry led and carried out by teams of volunteers. It’s certainly not an overnight process to make such an intentional change.

Here’s part one of several responses to the question: how do create a culture of volunteering where people choose to step up and serve?

It starts with vision. Someone with respected voice and leadership must cast vision for volunteering, for volunteers serving. That someone will likely be the senior communicator, lead pastor – whatever the role – the person leading the church. Our founding pastor Mark Beeson has taught and practiced for years that the people of the church are the ministers; pastors and other staff empower and equip them to do so. Mark has taught, cast vision, and ramped up volunteer leaders. He has led the way.

I’ve seen a number of churches claim a desire to empower volunteers, but apparently it’s all supposed to be managed behind the scenes through a leader who’s charged with the new initiative: involve our people. However, without vision being cast to the entire church, it will not happen effectively. If it’s a paradigm shift, the senior leader must paint the picture: both why the current strategy can’t continue like it is, and what benefit comes from this new preferred future.

Just in case the senior leader is at a loss for how to teach this value, the scriptures paint quite a convincing paradigm for volunteer-driven ministry. Just sayin’.

Here’s what’s coming in future posts on creating and cultivating a volunteer culture:

  • People are busy with a full slate of family activity, personal priorities and work. How and why would people alter their schedule to volunteer, to serve through the local church?
  • The church calendar is full. How easy is it for people to make a significant contribution?
  • Meaningfully involving professionals in the church community is especially challenging. How do we leverage their leadership as volunteers?
  • Serving with friends matters. Task is important; so are relationships.
  • What role does serving play in spiritual formation?

Read Part 2 of this series here.

Read more from Mark here.

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Mark Waltz

Mark has spent the past 25 years serving and leading people. While many of those years were focused within the local church, he brings marketplace experience from retail management, as well as career development and training. Regardless of his work or ministry context, he is about investing in people, because he believes people really matter. Think of him as a "people advocate." A sought after consultant and trainer, Mark has helped local churches of all sizes improve their guest services experience. Today Mark serves as executive pastor at Granger Community Church where for the past fourteen years he has been a unifying force, overseeing adult relational connections, including groups, guest services and volunteer strategies. As Granger’s chief guest services practitioner he still inspires teams of volunteers who make Granger Community Church a relaxed, rejuvenating and relevant experience for members and guests. Mark also oversees Granger’s multisite campuses.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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