It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I have been stewing over this one for a great time.
I want to write this article with caution as it is based on real experiences with an existing ministry. The subject church is a very good place to worship. The teaching is spot on. It’s a very easy going and relevant ministry. Unfortunately, they have grown very quickly and not addressed some serious problems that need to be rectified.
One such problem is how volunteer workers are treated; especially, in the children’s ministry. Because of their rapid growth, they have a tremendous amount of young children attending their various childcare programs. Because of this, this ministry claims most of their ministry expenditures to be spent in this area. They depend greatly on volunteers to keep these programs running. The pity is, the “family minister” and the “children’s minister” have neither the temperament nor the background qualifications to be ministers, or overseers of people working in childcare.
Well meaning Christians volunteer and serve their churches from a sense calling from the Holy Spirit. They want to contribute to the mission of a ministry to give back to God. It is even taught in some circles that volunteering in your church is part of tithing. For this good and faithful service, volunteers receive a great blessing from the Holy Spirit.
Can a Christian volunteer enjoy God’s blessings if they have feelings of oppression, resentment, or even anger? Volunteers should be treasured as vital parts of a ministry within a church. When a church treats volunteers as equipment or operational assets, it creates feelings of worthlessness, resentment, or anger. The church in question has a horrible time recruiting and retaining childcare volunteers. There is a widespread hesitation to work in this church’s childcare ministry. Yet, every week, they solicit help for the child care ministry; to the detriment of any other form of service within the body. They treat the workers in the childcare ministry with a complete lack of mercy, love or gratitude. They are only focused on what it takes to get through the next Sunday. Their task tunnel vision is such that if you have a problem in that area, they make you feel guilty that you haven’t volunteered to be a childcare worker.
So, church leaders, I challenge you to look at your volunteer based ministries and see if there are challenges in recruiting and retaining workers. If there is a high turn over or shortage of workers, look at how your minister in charge of that ministry relates to their volunteer workers. What you should see are attitudes in gratitude, mercy, and grace. A recognition program would certainly be appropriate here.
Please don’t deprive your volunteer workers of their blessings of service that come from God. Socially engineer a volunteer environment that makes for effective ministry and volunteer satisfaction. Your volunteers should walk away feeling they have pleased God with their service and received the blessing from God for a job well done.
As I said above, the example church is otherwise a great place to pitch your tent and make your spiritual home. Praise and Worship: Spot-On. Doctrine: Spot-On. Outreach: Spot-On. But when it comes to dealing volunteers and parents when there is a child conduct issue, the two ministers in charge I have found greatly lacking; and it shows.
Just my two bits.