By Lisa Nordell-Detres
The third fallacy I want to address applies more to the small churches whose few volunteers are burned out because they alone feel the need to keep everything going. Members in small churches hesitate to volunteer for anything besides Vacation Bible School one week a year for fear that they will be trapped in the nursery forever. There are two principles that need to be remembered by those dedicated saints who are hanging on by a thread.
First of all, pray that God will give you a clear set of priorities for your church’s ministries and then let the others drop for a season. Either God will bring helpers in to pick up those peripheral duties or they will cease to exist until others pick it up. The important thing is to stay focused on the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 and make sure that if nothing else, Biblical teaching is provided for all ages in the church.
The second principle is one that I found to be extremely liberating, as spoken by Charles Swindoll several years ago, “The need does not constitute the call.” This only applies to those who are already actively engaged in ministry. If you are a “pew potato,” that quote does not excuse you from volunteering. This principle applies to those who understand the facet of love that sees a need and rush in to fill that need without counting the cost. This doesn’t mean that we turn a blind eye to those in need around us, but rather we start looking for others whom God has equipped to fill those needs and recruit them to step into that service. This may even mean directing them to the ministry of another church or organization whose core strength may be providing the service that is needed.
This thought leads to the fourth fallacy of Christian thinking: our local church has to do it all. Take a good look at your congregation and make an objective evaluation of the core strengths of the people. Remember, God has equipped us all for specific tasks, and if the church down the street is running a soup kitchen for homeless people and your heart is with the homeless, go there to volunteer rather than trying to start another soup kitchen in your church. Hopefully, you will keep membership at your church, but either way, working together to make one community ministry the best it can be is much more productive and efficient than starting ministries that are improperly staffed. Pray for God’s guidance and resist the temptation to start any new ministries at the expense of those already in place.
The most important thing to know is that we all have a job to do for God and we need to be willing to serve Him by using our gifts and talents to serve others. Now, go serve!
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.