I’ve had a number of conversations with people over the years about the reality that there’s way more to get done than there are people to get it done. This is true, especially in the church. Depending on the financial position of the church, there is never enough paid staff to cover all the bases.
What’s the deal?
This issue has prompted me, from time to time, to clarify a couple of things when it comes to getting things done in the church. I believe there are a couple of “truths” about the church when it comes to how God wants us to get things done.
First, depending on the size of the church there are literally hundreds of “jobs” to do. At my church, we have more than 600 volunteers. That’s right, we have 60+ volunteers per ministry staff member. And, I can tell you it is still very difficult to get everything done. So, given that God could provide more than enough money to pay everyone required to run the church, but chooses not to … we must conclude that getting things done in the church through volunteers is, in fact, what we’re supposed to be doing. Right?
Second, serving in the church is one of the most effective ways to grow and develop spiritually. I can’t tell you how many of the nearly 2,600 people baptized here at our church were volunteers before they made their decision. The church’s need for “more volunteers” is an open door for people to connect. And, connection to the local church is by far one of the most significant experiences God uses to bring people closer to him. In fact, one could say that every time a person is hired to perform a task in the church -aside from how that individual’s spiritual journey is effected of course- it’s a missed opportunity to connect more people to the church body.
So, what’s the difference between a staff member and a volunteer? Not much in terms of getting the job done in the church. Basically, when the “job” can no longer be performed by a volunteer (or many volunteers), there’s no choice but to hire a staff member to fill the position. At my church, we have almost always hired someone from within, typically someone who has already been doing the job for a while as a volunteer.
Ultimately, it’s not about getting things done … it’s about connecting people to Jesus. Pretty simple.