Have you ever imagined what our church would look like without volunteers? Let’s consider what would have happened last Sunday morning if none of our volunteers did their roles…
If you came early to church you would have found the building locked, there was no one to open it up. As our church family and guests arrived, there were no service attendants to welcome anyone. There were no musicians, no singers, no worship leader. There wasn’t any sound, any words on the screens or any lighting as our worship team and media team are all volunteers. Incidentally, there wasn’t a webcast either as that’s also done by volunteers. There wouldn’t have been communion as it’s set up by volunteers, served by volunteers and led by a volunteer. There wasn’t an offering as there wasn’t anyone to lead it, no one to pass the bags around, and no one to count and bank it. Ian Watts prepared a news video during the week, without any voice-over as that’s done by a volunteer, but there wasn’t a media team to play it. Pastor Russell is a staff member, so there was Kids Church, but there weren’t any other Kids Church teachers to help him as they’re all volunteers. We had the opportunity to pray for needs, and we had a sermon, but as there wasn’t any sound, you may not have heard it. For obvious reasons the service was much shorter than usual, and there wasn’t tea or coffee after the service. The urns are cold but there wasn’t any milk or biscuits, as these are all set up by volunteers. There wasn’t any special coffees either as they are also made by volunteers. Our Sunday morning service certainly would have been different without any of our volunteers!
A definition of volunteer is “one who freely serves”. We rightly use the word volunteer when we are making a distinction that much of what we do is possible only because of those who freely serve without financial gain. This month we want to thank and honour all who volunteer. Thank you to every single person who contributes to this church – whether it’s weekly, monthly, once a term or at special events; whether it’s upfront or behind the scenes; whether it’s seen and recognised or unknown to anyone but God. We thank God for you!
The heart of a volunteer is one of serving Christ. What does this look like?
ARE YOU AVAILABLE?
There is a beautiful Hebrew word, Hineni. It is literally translated, “Here I am”. It is a way of expressing total availability and willingness to give oneself.
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
The heart of a Christ servant is not one of grumbling service, only in it for what I gain, for recognition or to feel good about themself. It’s a heart of worship. It’s one that knows that Jesus gave everything for me and the response is, “I give everything for Him”. It’s one that says, “Hineni – Here I am! Send me!”
Where are you? Start there.
As we recognise the Lordship of Christ, it changes how we view our time, our treasure (money/resources) and talents.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Sometimes we over-complicate serving Christ, or worry about how we can possibly serve in the midst of our busy lives. Paul Tripp writes in his book ‘New Morning Mercies,” “The New Testament does not teach a separation between life and ministry. Every dimension of your life is a forum for ministry.”
Our ministry, our service, can be found in our day to day life – where God has placed us. If you are a child of God, you belong to God. He has sovereignly placed you right where He wants you to serve. That’s where serving God starts.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE? Use that.
Many of us feel inadequate to be used by God. Thank God that we don’t have to have it together before we can serve Him. We don’t need to wait until we feel we can offer something significant, until we are more spiritual, until life is easier. We simply serve with what is in our hand. We give what we have.
When we give Jesus what we have, who knows what he can do with it? He fed thousands with a boy’s lunch – five small loaves and two fish. What we have may be small, insignificant or imperfect in our eyes, but that’s the kind of gift God delights in.
Serving simply starts where we are and with what we have. A servant heart is available, faithful where God has sovereignly placed it and a faithful steward of what God has given it.
Within our church context, volunteering to serve is not an all or nothing proposition. There are many different ways of serving. It could be once a term, at a special event or on a monthly roster. It could be serving coffee, counting the offering, teaching Kids Church, helping with the gardens, making a meal for someone who is unwell, or setting up communion.
Sometimes we may find ourselves needing to be served by others and there are a multitude of reasons why this may be so. Sometimes we are unable to contribute as we’d like. We count it a privilege to welcome all in our church that need refreshing and to be served for a season. We pray that you are filled and replenished.
Would you like to volunteer? Talk with a team leader. Pick up a volunteer form at our Help Desk, or you can fill in the form online. Scared? Perfect! You’ll have to trust God and this means you’re positioned to see Him work through you. There is so much joy to be found in serving. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s outright hard, but it’s good.
May God bless you abundantly!