Freedom from Volunteers
Most of us decided to work for a church because we get to do what we love and we get to do it for a greater purpose—sharing the gospel and changing people’s lives through our craft and art. Our church hired us primarily because of the creative and technical skillset we bring to the table.
Let’s be honest. This would be my dream job if that was all I had to do.
One of my biggest challenges is raising up and working with volunteers. I am not just talking about camera guys or ProPresenter operators, but the full gamut of positions available – lighting design, graphic designers, videographers, sound engineers, writers, actors, communication. Somehow I am expected to build an army of volunteers while at the same time producing quality art and coping with the growing demand. It’s a big challenge. Do you relate?
Recruiting, training, and leading volunteers is deeply ingrained in our culture. It is an unwritten rule in our industry that if you don’t raise up a lot of volunteers you are not very good job. In some cases it is written into our job descriptions.
Sure you may be an extrovert, people-oriented, and a strong leader. You may have no problem finding talented and generous people. But on top of that, you’re called to deliver top-notch art while managing and navigating through the maze of circumstances around volunteers. You’re called to do this with limited time and limited availability outside of Sundays and work hours. It’s very challenging, taxing, and stressful.
I’ll admit that this has been a source of frustration, stress, pain, and even a deflating sense of adequacy for me. But after 15 years of having this loom over me, I recently experienced a breakthrough.
I came to the conclusion that with proper alignment of values, I can have a healthy perspective about this essential part of my job.
I realized that: As Christ followers, we all ultimately have one goal—when we come face-to-face with our Lord and Savior—for Him to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25:23)
He’s referring to souls. He’s referring to people whom we’ve loved and helped grow closer in their relationship with Him. It’s the great commission. He’s not necessarily going to say, “Well done raising up 78 camera guys, 16 directors, 8 lighting operators, and 12 sound guys in your media volunteer teams.”
It was liberating to understand that:
- Like anyone in the marketplace who is known as a Christ follower, I am expected to represent the Lord well and do a consistently good job.
- It is okay that there are positions I don’t have and probably can’t find volunteers for in order to produce at a quality level worthy of my paycheck.
- I have wrongly equated raising up volunteers for as many positions as possible to be a biblical mandate. I dare ask, where does it even say that in the Bible?
- I cannot and should not complicate it by mixing up my job and the great commission, causing myself unnecessary stress because of unrealistic expectations and unbiblical responsibility that I’ve placed upon myself.
- By truly trusting God and looking at His track record, He always supplies the needs of his house if I steward the resources (which includes people) in a healthy sustainable way.
- My primary responsibility with people He brings into my sphere of influence is to disciple them—encourage, bless, support, bring closer to the Lord as a result of our relationship—like what we expect of anyone attending our churches to be at their places of work. To be salt and light.
- If I look at volunteerism simply as a platform for discipleship and trust God, I don’t need to worry or stress. He will bring the volunteers needed for His house.