Monday, January 11, 2010



Kruse recently reprinted an article on attracting volunteers. It was from a decidedly secular viewpoint. The essential theme was "make it easy, make it short term." Having said that, there was this interesting suggestion:
Instead of using volunteers as a means to an end, use the tasks volunteers perform as the means to an end. It is the experience volunteers have and not the tasks they perform that is the point. Focus on the experience, and you’ll discover the commitment and productivity of your volunteers grow.
That is a whole bunch of stuff wrapped up there. I want to break it down a it, and do so purely in the light of volunteering in the church.

First, any time someone volunteers in the church it is both about what they are there to do and what they get out of the deal. We do need to focus on that - ministry as a spiritual discipline. Making volunteer opportunities a part of the maturity process is vital. As I continually bemoan in this place, the church build people that build the church. To often we just focus on building the church.

Secondly, the author is correct - if the volunteers receive some sort of reward from the experience, meaning there is something about it that is about them - they will respond by wanting to do it again. But here is the thing, in the end Christian service is about the other, not the self. This particular bit of cultural observation is one of the things that the church should be working to overcome.

So, we end up with this situation where the focus of volunteer opportunity is to help the volunteer to mature to the point where he/she does not need reward to continue to volunteer. That is the nature of discipleship.

So, at some point, this person;s model is going to break down. That, in the end is why there are problems finding volunteers out there. We're running the programs and not building the disciples.

So what are you doing toe build disciples?

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