Churches struggle with recruiting and retaining volunteers. While it is challenging enough to recruit a sufficient amount of people to meet the needs, there is another problem that comes when you get them:
What expectations do you have of the church’s volunteers?
I’m not talking about what time they show up and what job they perform. I’m talking about the role that character and integrity plays as they represent Jesus and the church.
If you struggle with recruiting enough volunteers, it is very scary to start vetting them. What if you have a willing person that doesn’t represent Christ well? You know that you need to hold the bar high but you have so much you need done.
How mature spiritually does the church volunteer need to be?
We’re not looking for perfection because that would kick all of us out. But when you look at the pages of Scripture, leaders within the church were expected to be above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6-7). They were meant to set an example for those within the church (Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:3; Acts 25:7; 1 Pet. 3:16). Godly character was expected of all believers (Col. 3:7-10) but especially of those serving the church.
Onsite, Online, Offsite
Being a church volunteer is more than how you behave on a church campus. In the world we live in, what we do off the church campus is noticed by those around us and by what we post on social media. We must begin to raise the bar because what we do is so critical.
When I train teams, I try to remind them of 3 key areas for the church volunteer: onsite, online, offsite.
- Onsite – When someone walks onto a church campus, there should be a sense of “other-ness.” These people should act differently than all the other people we encounter throughout the week. They are kind. They genuinely care. They go the second mile (Matt. 5:41). Do you serve in your role with delight or drudgery? Do you appear to be burdened or blessed by your responsibility? Are you courteous and intentional with the people who walk in the door? There are spiritually dead people walking around you, are you displaying life?
- Online – Social media has given everyone a platform, a megaphone, and a public archive. Do you represent Jesus and the church well by what you post? Hopefully, your social media friends and followers know you are a Christian, but is that evident by your content? Are your pictures helpful? Is your language edifying (and that includes abbreviations of words and phrases)? Do you complain too much? If you scroll through your posts, do you represent Christ and his church often or is there another more frequent obsession that keeps your focus? Your online presence says something about your association with Christ – is it what you want to be saying?
- Offsite – I never want someone to see me living one way during the week that would cause them to doubt what I say or do on a Sunday. As a pastor, could I do something in the world that would affect the reputation of the church? Absolutely. So could you. Even as a volunteer, you represent Christ. You are his ambassador (2 Cor. 5:20) to a lost world. Represent him well!
“Onsite, online, and offsite?! Man, that covers every area of my life!”
Now, you are getting it.
Representing Jesus is not a part-time job. You don’t clock out.
Instead of restricting, I pray this reality is freeing for you. I long for all ambassadors to understand that the commandments of God are no longer burdensome (1 John 5:3). You are a kingdom of priests that get the incredible privilege of proclaiming the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).
Don’t put a darkening filter on a life that has been illuminated by the gospel.
In all 3 areas of onsite, online, and offsite, shine and shine well.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.