Episode 6: Volunteer Ministry

What is it?

Well, simply put, you're giving of your time and/or talents and/or resources with NO expectation of compensation. Churches primarily run on the backs of their volunteers, because, unless they're one of these crazy mega-churches with deep gold-lined pockets, they can't afford to pay anybody, save the pastor (hopefully). But more importantly, it's about being selfless and responding to God's command to "love thy neighbor".

Rex as the Worship Leader

Rex starts by discussing how fortunate he feels to be leading the worship ministry. He talks about finding and responding to volunteers, and his application process that, even though it's 'long' on paper, is really aimed at the heart of the person being called. If your heart is in the right place -- to serve and glorify God -- it should be easy. But if you only seek to glorify yourself -- to be a rock star -- that's not what this ministry is for.

Chuck as the Sunday School Leader

Chuck outlines some of the vetting process for your typical Sunday school teacher, including squeaky-clean background checks and one-on-one Q&A. He also touches on the need for a balance between the drive for "doing the ministry" (teaching) vs. the ability to pull back and "be fed" by the regular congregational service.

Rex echoes this sentiment with regard to the worship team members, in that none of them "NEED" to do it as part of their core identity, but that they thoroughly enjoy doing it, yet also appreciate the occasional week or two off-stage. He's very grateful for the talent and the maturity he sees on his team, and I heartily agree. Chuck chimes in with how wonderful it is to see them invest in building up youth and others in their own musical skills & growth.

Tapping into and "Unleashing" volunteers

We discuss some thoughts around how best to tap into those who are brave and willing to step up and offer themselves to volunteer service. Rex muses about pushing his own team to further invest in youth-growth. Chuck follows up with a huge thanks to the youth leader who he essentially handed-over the ministry to after seeing how passionate this leader was and how much a heart he had for it.

Rex discusses the need for the leaders themselves to be more open and flexible with their own time, to fully support the efforts of their team members and volunteers. Leaders should guide and oversee the building of other future leaders, or at least of a growth-effort that leads to the ministry team sustaining or increasing its size and scope. But of course that is very difficult to balance with all the other demands and commitments of 'real life'.

Chuck then dovetails into the concepts behind Servant Leadership, including the biblical basis for it and Jesus's teachings and examples.

People, Personalities, and Politics

We chuckle about the fact that sometimes not everybody "likes you". But sometimes you have to get along anyway. "I love him/her in Christ" is a sort of tongue-in-cheek way, but based in truth, of saying that, while you may not necessarily 'like' someone you volunteer with (or under or above), you can and should make the ministry itself work by having the maturity to see things from a higher, Christ-focused perspective.

"Community is that place where the people you don't want to live with, always live." -Henri Nouwen

What happens when people's egos get in the way? Chuck recalls something he read, where ministry teams can become like "little kingdoms", and the leaders like "little despots". Meaning, they can get too closed-off and narrow-minded, if left to the wrong motivations. So it's a call to both the leaders and the volunteers themselves, to hold each other accountable and call out any misguided power struggles or ego-trips, and keep the focus on God's work.

Why Volunteer?

Besides the fact that's a fundamentally 'good' thing to do, it's something you were in a way designed for, by God. Because we were designed to serve, and in serving others, we serve Him. It's also a unique and deep way in which we experience and express our 'SENT-ness', i.e. that we are sent by God into the world to do His work and spread His love and gospel.

We also hear some anecdotes about how certain pastors or churches have formally implemented some kind of "step-ladder" system where volunteers are either encouraged to, or required to, essentially "start at the bottom" with more menial less appealing roles to ensure that they fully understand the goal and the heart of true volunteer ministry.


The Lord loves a cheerful giver. We want to see and encourage the joyful openness in offering one's time and resources in service or hospitality. And if you have any trouble finding a place in your own church to DO some kind of volunteering, turn it around and find a way to serve your community or family or friends.

Stump Chuck!

Rex poses the question, "What was the first capitol city of the United States?" Chuck successfully answers, "New York"! He elaborates on why it was moved southward later, and Rex adds the tidbit that it was where George Washington gave the first inaugural address. The more you know!

In today's episode, we apologize for offending the following:

Tax accountants, Costco applicants, mega-churches, ticket scalpers, heathens on the worship team, sheep and goats, Henri Nouwen, little despots, time wasters, people in prison, and the guy who had a stroke after Chuck's first sermon. (True story.)

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