My students today have about 1/2 hour left to recite the last of their assigned verses in Spanish. It is always amazing to me how some students begin the first week of school, and others are out in the hall pacing and trying to learn them now. I was no different as a student, actually, it depended on the semester. My point however is that many of us in the church don’t lift a finger to help until there is a crisis. If we see a need and fill it immediately things would run better, but I also understand that this idea would only work if everyone followed through. Other than that, the one person seeing needs is quickly overworked and suffers from burnout. As church leaders, it is great to get people involved early in a project before it becomes a crisis. This Sunday, my job is helping take down the lights after service…what is yours?
Archive for the 'volunteering' Category
In the church world, there are so many great programs/events/studies/classes that can help your church. At what point do they become a detriment? One question to ask is, “How many staff and volunteers do we have?” and then secondly, “What is the very best use for these people?” If we try to do everything, we will accomplish nothing well. There are traditional programs like Choir, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Special Music, Men’s & Women’s ministries…each of these take someone to lead them and people to be involved in them. Each of these serve a purpose and can be good for the church. Sometimes though, it is important to choose between them so that a smaller number of programs can be done with the excellence that is due worship presented to the King of kings and Lord of lords! If you are having trouble getting volunteers for an area of ministry in your church, you could berate the congregation about why they aren’t serving the Lord…OR you might take another look at that area of ministry and ask if it is really vital to the core mission of the church? It might be time to kill it before it dies a long painful death.
Today I have a great honor! I get to go speak at Home with a Heart! It is always great to go speak with these guys! Michael Campbell, who is the editor of our local paper, The Pickens County Courier is going with me. It is always great to get to hang out with him. Those aren’t the reasons I am excited though. Sometimes, as a guy who doesn’t get to preach much, when the occasion comes up, I feel like I have to rush to get something, anything put together to be able to share with a group of people. Today is different. God put something in my heart especially for today and I am excited to be able to share it! Can’t wait! Have an awesome day!
Each of us is capable of doing something for the Lord. Last night, as part of an outreach for our church, my great and exalted job was…putting cheese on bun! Our very creative, awesome preaching youth pastor was then putting a burger on that bun. Our vision casting, incredible leader senior pastor was flipping burgers…you see the pattern. We were having a blast working together! (Food service isn’t what any of us normally do…so I am happy to report that as far as I know, no one got food poisoning!) What was accomplished was making an inroad for our youth pastor to be able to talk with a bunch of football players. They are a great bunch of guys! At least two of the coaches there are committed Christians and were thrilled to see us grilling up burgers and hotdogs for the guys. (We were feeding them the first night of football camp.) No one got saved because of the burgers…that I know of. But maybe, when a tough time comes, one of those guys might remember that someone cared. He might even go to his football coach who was tough on him, but loved him. Making a few burgers to make a football camp happen where the coach could shine the light of Jesus Christ into these boys while also teaching them the game of football seems like an odd evangelistic plan. All I can say is that God has used wierder things to bring people into his kingdom. If you are capable of putting cheese on a bun, you can serve the Lord in some capacity. Not everyone is called to preach, but we are all called to serve the Lord. What are YOU doing?
(I would love to hear comments on some of the odd evangelistic outreaches you have been a part of.)
I am one of those guys who will let you borrow anything I have, I will jump in to help out someone without a second thought…yet for some reason, I have a hard time asking others for help. Why is that? I could just chalk it up to being a guy. Is that true though? Or is pride my stumbling block? So how does my personal question affect the church? If you are a pastor or lay leader who has my natural tendencies that cause an aversion to asking others for help, that can seriously damage your ministry! We cannot and must not try to do it all by ourselves! (I am not being super spiritual here and talking about doing it without God….I mean without other people.) So how do we get people to help out? Unfortunately for our personality type, we have to bust out of our mold and ask them personally. I am not talking about a from the pulpit plea like, “Will you please see sister Baby Sitter after the service if you can work in the nursery.” I mean personally approaching the person and saying, “I see that God has given you this and this strength, I would like your help in this area of ministry. Are you up for it?” The first part of that needs to be sincere! You can’t just drag them in to take care of toddlers because they are a warm body and couldn’t think of an excuse to say no. They won’t be a great piano player if they can’t play a lick, no matter how much they want to help out. Some people get great satisfaction out of seeing a spotless church they have just cleaned! Others feel like they have been sentenced to Siberia if they had to face cleaning the bathrooms. Look for people who have a gifting and help them fulfil that gifting. You might find that certain “traditional jobs” in the church just don’t get filled. (Though if no one is “gifted” at cleaning the toilets or taking out the trash, it still needs to be done.) Reach out, ask personally and you will be surprised at the results! Many people want to help, but don’t know where to start. This isn’t just for senior pastors! If you lead any area of ministry in your church, this is for you!
The following has nothing to do with my church. Another church that I have visited from time to time puts on a great 4th of July event out in Missouri. The following is a letter sent to them after this years “I Love America” Festival. To see the original blog post by Pastor John Lindell, click here.
The following is a testimony we received on Sunday morning. This woman writes:
I started praying for my dad’s salvation when I was about 8 years old. He was abusive in every way. He became a full-time drug lord when I was about 11 or 12 and eventually went to prison when I was 15. I didn’t have much contact with him during the next 15 years of my life, but I continued praying for him over the years whenever I could get out of the flesh long enough to quit hating him.
A few years ago, he reinitiated contact with me and my family. It’s been awkward and difficult to say the least. We’ve invited him to church on different occasions, but he would never darken the door of a church.
He just “happened” to be passing through on July 3rd and said he’d stop for a visit if we were going to be around. I told him, “Sure, we are going to a fireworks event and he could come along.” I couldn’t quite get the “it will be put on by my church” part out of my mouth so I was a bit nervous, wondering how long it would take him to realize we brought him to a “church” event. However, the setting was comfortable enough and everyone was so down-to-earth-JRA-friendly that nothing was said.
Money is a big deal to an old drug lord and about halfway through the day my dad, in rather deep thought, leaned over and said, “You know most places would’ve charged you to do all this stuff. When we pulled in and saw all the [inflatables], I was wondering if I brought enough money.” And then he said in total shock, “And anywhere else like this would try to get five dollars out of you for a bottle of water, but here someone just gave me one.”
I don’t know who the volunteer is that God prompted to bring water to the people standing in line at the helicopter ride, but your thoughtful generosity in that one small act of service was the straw that broke a 50-something-year-old ex-con and opened his heart to hear the message.
Some of you planned and prepared, others waved and smiled, but all of you made it happen and on Friday night I got the privilege of walking my father through the crowd and “into heaven.” I also got to lay down my own baggage of abuse by finally confronting him and forgiving him. Thank you church for being the church and for bringing the church to someone who wouldn’t have ever come to it.
That testimony is an example of the amazing things that can happen when a church works together to love people in the community!
Yesterday at 5 Point Fellowship, we celebrated the 4th of July by having sort of a community party/festival that we give to the community for free. There were inflatable rides, bungee slingshots, a rock wall, music, popcorn, cotton candy, sno cones, face painting, hotdogs and most of all, lots of smiles for free! I, along with many other volunteers, was able to share the love of Jesus Christ with people in word, but also through what we were doing. I was really proud off all the people from the church that started setting up about 1:00 and didn’t leave until the parking lot and church were cleaned up at almost 11:00 at night! It was great to have so many hands pitching in, and when asked to do anything, no one said, “That’s not my job.” Every single volunteer pitched in where they saw a need! I love working with this bunch! For those who may read this who have never even heard of 5 Point Fellowship or even Easley, SC…Sorry the blog is a little off my normal fare…I just had to brag on my people!
This Saturday, our church, like many churches around our great country, is throwing a great big party for the 4th of July. Part of my job at the church is coordinating events like this. Today, I was getting the last of things together and two volunteers came in and offered to help me set up the “staging area” (A nice word for putting all the stuff that goes to one area on Saturday, in one pile in the church lobby). With their help, what would have taken me hours to do only took about 45 minutes! Earlier in the day, I was unloading a truck full of water, and a friend stopped by and helped carry cases of water. Others helped unload some stage platforms. God is great at sending help when we need it! There are so many incredible volunteers that make events like this possible! If you are one of them and reading this, whether you are volunteering for my church or another one, I want to tell you Thank You! Without all you guys pitching in, things like this would never happen! Oh, and if you are looking for something to do on Saturday, July 4th in Easley, SC, just swing by 5 Point Fellowship anytime after 3:30 and enjoy the fun! Everything is free! Inflatable rides, Thomas the Train, Rock Climbing, Bungee Swings, Hotdogs, Snowcones, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Drinks, lots of smiles… Hope to see you there!
I was sitting here thinking about church membership. At our church, people who want to become members must go through a class and then sign a covenant agreement. People can serve in our church without being members. One would think that with such a system in place, only those serious about participating in the ministry of the church would want to join. Over the years however, I have seen that many people still join just to get their name on the roll list. Which by the way won’t get you any discounts, or a get out of hell free card or anything…but they still want to join. When joining doesn’t require anything, than it also doesn’t mean anything.
In 8th grade, my friend Adam joined the AARP. While the AARP is a great organization for retired people or people over 50, it doesn’t cater in any way to a 13-14 year old. For some reason, maybe his lack of a job at that time, Adam was accepted and received his AARP card in the mail. Many churches seem to be like that. Anyone can join. Let’s be honest, we are a very inclusive club. We are a family of like minded people who love and serve Jesus Christ and we want everyone to be in our club. However…if we give people a card that says they are in the club while they still haven’t met the requirements like loving Jesus with all their heart, serving Him or at bare minimum having asked Him to forgive them of their sins…are we really doing them a disservice? Like my friend Adam who when he turns 50 may have some trouble getting an AARP card due to the fact that he will have already had one for almost 40 years, will these people stand before God on judgment day and say, “But Lord, I know I didn’t know you, but I have my membership card from ________________ Church! Doesn’t that get me into heaven?” While not wanting to revert to a legalistic draconian method like the board inquisition that led to D.L. Moody not being able to join his local church, I would love to hear suggestions on how to make church membership be an accountability tool and to mean something. Now you get to post a comment!
Our God is so BIG! This is really a random thoughts type blog post today, but I have a lot of thoughts about all that God is doing in this world that I know about…He is doing so very much that I have no clue about! (That is your cue to post comments about things you see God doing!) Many times, he works through people! Yesterday in church, Pastor Dean asked the church to step up and buy 200 chairs for a growing church in Africa. The chairs are simple plastic $10 chairs. It was great to see the congregation give above and beyond what they were asked for with a cheerful heart! Now the church in Africa will not only be able to have chairs under their tarp, but they will be able to buy a piece of land they were looking at and will be able to build a church! God is incredible!
I blogged last time about going to my Aunt’s house to help her out with some house projects. It was not only great to work with my dad again, but seeing the joy that doing that list of simple projects brought to my Aunt was wonderful! God knew that she needed help, and through an odd series of events, brought my dad and mom to this part of the country at this time. I couldn’t have done the projects myself, but with Dad’s help, they went smoothly, and we had a good time working together.
Seeing new believer’s growing in the Lord never gets old! God is doing some incredible work in the lives of many new believers in our church!
There is a camp in Honea Path, SC that has been having a great affect on kids and teen’s lives over the years. This year, a group of retired people got together to go work on the camp before it opened. This year was also the first year that the camp director was able to feel like things were ready when the first day of camp came around! (Note to retirees, you have worked hard and can spend your retirement years as you wish..but I want to put a bug in your ear to investigate one of the many groups that volunteer to work and help out volunteer organizations. Most denominations have a ministry that helps match up retirees with jobs around the country. It is a great way to travel, meet new people and also lend a much needed hand at the same time.)
God is using youth to reach out to the community as well. In our own area of the upstate of South Carolina, Youth are helping out with groups like Meals on Wheels, Miracle Hill(children’s home), Soup kitchens and many more…
I am amazed at the things God is doing through people and I am praying for magnificent supernatural things to happen that can only be explained by giving credit to God! Have an awesome day! We serve a HUGE God!