If you’ve been around a church for any amount of time, you’ve heard the phrase “20% of the people do 80% of the work” and you also know that it’s probably true. We’ve all sat in a service or two where an announcement is made for volunteers, particularly for working with children or parking attendants. There was a time at my home church in Pennsylvania when they had a hard time finding someone to teach a particular children’s class on Wednesday nights. Each week during the adult Bible study in the sanctuary, Pastor Joe would announce the need but there were no takers. Finally, one Wednesday night he ended the adult Bible study by saying “Since no one has stepped up, I’m going to go into that classroom next Wednesday night and every week after that until someone else volunteers. I don’t know what you all are gonna do in here, but I’m gonna be taking care of those kids.” He walked down the aisle and out the door.
The following Wednesday, Pastor Joe was back in the adult Bible study again: two people suddenly volunteered to take turns teaching the children’s class. Imagine that.
But there are those rare volunteers that are dedicated and faithful and don’t need threats to sign up. They show up on time and take on probably too much. They have a positive attitude and are always willing to fill an area of need. They serve without seeking recognition, whether in the nursery or parking lot. There are volunteers who work a full-time job and show up on nights and weekends because they love to serve. Just about every church has that special group of volunteers that without them, you can’t imagine running your church and keeping your sanity. These servants are the kind who take the ideas of a pastor or leader at 2am on Saturday night and make it happen on Sunday morning. There are those that brave bad weather to get to church and make sure things are ready.
You hear great stories about ministries that are focused on children, the homeless and under privileged. Churches that evangelize their town, provide help and assistance to those in need, and programs that provide counseling, support and resources. All that doesn’t happen without volunteers taking on responsibility and doing the often thankless jobs.
The “Props” series is all about recognizing that despite its faults, the Church has a lot that is praise worthy. So here’s to the volunteers that aren’t on stage, aren’t in visible roles and aren’t thanked often enough yet keep plugging away.
For my next post, I’ll discuss some practical ways to identify and recruit volunteers and keep them happy. Please leave comments here and give a shout out to the great volunteers that make your church or ministry possible.