Home > Christian, Leadership, Quote > Looking for tech (or any other) volunteers? Make disciples instead…

Looking for tech (or any other) volunteers? Make disciples instead…


I recently responded to a posting about ‘hooking’ and ‘baiting’ volunteers.  Sometimes I think we really need to rethink our vocabulary.  I have no doubt my friend had good intentions, but sometimes we might want to show some discernment when we post stuff as it reveals our hearts many times, at least with me I know it does.  I wonder how one of the ‘saints’ who serves under my friend, would have responded to being ‘hooked’ or ‘baited’ to serve or reading his posting about looking for new ideas for ‘hooking’ or ‘baiting’? God continue to rescue my ambition so I don’t ‘bait’ or ‘hook’ His servants! 

Here’s a thought… how about being intentional with doing life with folks outside of ‘church’, listening, observing, encouraging, and giving away ministry to those who have ‘kingly’ gifts (most techs have this gift mix), by personally inviting them into the game? Ministry fairs? C’mon, we are not signing people up for ‘jobs’ are we? I thought this was about worship in all of life? 

Background:  We are part of a church plant, in a supposed low tech, primarily blue collar, demographic.  I think we have announced 1x about serving opportunities.  Our tech ministry started with 3, now we have 7 and more are asking since our official launch in August.  Is it because we ‘baited’ or ‘hooked’ them?

Let me try explaining another way:

  1. Pray for your volunteers and have consistent regular intake of God’s Word for yourself.  If God is not speaking to you, how can you see what God is doing in others?  Have you forgotten how has God invested in you?  It is amazing how knitted your heart gets for the gracious gifts of people God puts in your life when you are praying for them (which means you need to ask them what you can be praying for them about). 
  2. Teach/Live – Sanctification Thru Serving
  3. Make Disciples
  4. Be a Leader who Grows Leaders
  5. Influence through Mission and Vision 
  6. Build Teams and Develop Leaders
  7. Share 1-6 with your team regardless of maturity or state (believer or non-believer) and make it a non-negotiable.  Disciples are participants, not consumers or observers. 
  8. "Observers were happy to do and give nothing but just came to watch the show each week, not unlike people who hit the brakes when driving past a nasty car wreck to gaze and grin. Consumers likewise gave and did nothing but were always wanting more and making demands for more goods and services from me (the pastor). Participants were the handful of people who had bought into the idea of the church being a missionary to our city. They came to church seeking a way to serve a greater mission and were enormously encouraging."  Mark Driscoll – Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

  9. Give away leadership and let people safely fail.  So what, if the graphic is blurry, lyric is miss-spelled, the mic squeals, or the lights did not come on queue  You didn’t do it perfectly the first time (or second, or third, or fourth) either.  Hold your criticism unless it is a distracting or disruptive problem and even then it is a discipleship moment.  Yes we should have a heart of technical excellence but we must be cautious that we just might be teaching a performance based gospel based upon our own legalism.
  10. Don’t be available all the time, babysit or micro-manage.  It gives people an opportunity to show initiative.  I cannot tell you how many times folks have come up with better ways to do things than I do them.  It wouldn’t have happened if I was hovering.
  11. Encourage creativity, ownership and approachability.  Watch your heart and be ruthless with discerning between form and function – preferences and freedoms.  You would be surprised what guests see and what ‘church folks’ see.  Just because you would not have done it that way does not mean it is wrong.  We are not putting on YOUR show are we?  Isn’t it supposed to be God’s performance?
  12. Thank your volunteers all the time and tell them about evidences of God’s grace in their lives and through their serving – not so much though, that they serve for approval – remind them that Christ is enough.
  13. Give them tools, resources and invest not for the position but for the kingdom.  For example document everything – so training/research can happen with or without you.  Maybe your discipleship helps a volunteer switch for another ministry – celebrate!
  14. Evangelize and share – gospel-centered stories regularly.  This is God’s recruitment plan for His church.
  15. Encourage getting together outside of serving. Invite them to your home before inviting them to serve.
  16. Be aggressive about scheduling and shepherd your people so they are not burnt out.  I have seen so many churches burn out faithful servants because they did not shepherd them well.  Remember, the servants under your care have many times already ‘worked’ in their ministry 40+ hours that week, and this is their offering.  They are not getting paid and beware of using them like many employers do.  They are not yours to ‘use’ – they don’t HAVE to serve, they ‘GET’ to.  If it might help, imagine you could pay them what they are worth… and you can… by shepherding them.

God will bless without ‘hooking’ or ‘baiting’ because you are giving or stewarding ministry away (is it really yours to give?) by making disciples…

God has been kind to us despite my foot shaped mouth, with the gift and kindness of so many willing servants who get the vision…for the long haul, who will disciple others who will disciple others who will disciple others…

Servants – We are servants of God who serve others as a way of life.
Fully God-fully human, Jesus took on the posture of a servant. He gave his life, even unto death, so that others could experience salvation, peace and restoration. Jesus said, "I am among you as one who serves…" All those who follow Jesus are called to serve in the same humility. For us this means joyful submission to God, leadership and to each other, as we serve whomever God brings into our lives. We do Whatever needs doing, Whenever it’s needed and Wherever it leads us (W3). (Matthew 20:25-28; 25:31-46; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:16)

Learners – We are disciples of Jesus who take responsibility for our own development and the development of others.
As a young man Jesus grew in both height and wisdom. He learned from local religious teachers, by living in community, and through regular times of listening to God. Jesus called others to follow his ways, to be his disciples and live in obedience to all that God commands. He then sent these followers out to make new disciples. We believe we are also called to be followers of Jesus who take responsibility for our own development and the development of others. This includes both our personal time with God as well as involvement together in training provided by spiritual leadership. (Luke 2:52; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 2:2)

Questions for Reflection: 

  1. How is God blessing your ‘body’ with volunteers?
  2. How do you invest in others?
  3. How does the Gospel address this? 
  4. What is it about the Gospel we are not believing with our our current methods of volunteer recruitment techniques?
  5. Which servant do you need to say ‘thank you’ to in thought, action and deed?
    Here is an evidence of God’s grace in my life:  My pastor recently gave me a surprise thank you hand-written note and gift card acknowledging my serving in the tech ministry.  I tried to pooh-pooh it off, saying something prideful like he didn’t need to do it, but nevertheless it touched me deeply.  I can only recommend these things (above) because I have seen them modeled in others – I am thankful for the humble servant leaders of our fellowship who are worthy of imitating.

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

  1. Arlene...aka Muffy
    02/10/2011 at 03:21

    Good stuff Derek…you’re right on the money!! If we can continue to all remember how gracious, and forgiving God has been with each of us…from our humble beginnings, to now!! And yet still remain humble, and be a blessing!! Thank you!!

    • 02/10/2011 at 12:44

      Arlene, you and Mike have seen my foot shaped mouth and prideful behavior firsthand… how humbling to get opportunities to continue to work on that with you! Thank you for your kind and gracious comments!

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