Tag Archive - volunteer


Stop Paying People to Do Ministry

As they grow, many churches eagerly anticipate the moment when they’re finally big enough that they can afford to hire more staff and offer more ministry options for people. For example I’ve heard churches say they can’t wait to hire a Men’s Ministry Pastor. Nothing against Men’s Ministry per se, but that’s an expensive model. If you run it out to its logical end you’re going to have a lot of people on your payroll. Paying people to “do” ministry instead of “lead” ministry is an expensive mistake that many churches fall into. Here are 3 principles that will help you focus the Staffing & Volunteer philosophy at your church.

The Professionalism of Ministry has allowed the Church to Abdicate Responsibility

Just about every Pastor I’ve ever met generally agrees that their role is to, “equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.”  After all it’s pretty tough to disagree with the Scriptures. But unless you’re hiring through this filter of “preparing God’s people for works of service,” (Ephesians 4:11-13) every time you make a hire you’re robbing the church of the opportunity to be the church, as well as the church staff member of their God ordained role. As a Church Staff Member no job should be beneath you, but at the same time a Church Staff Member shouldn’t do every job either. Just see the conversation Jethro had with his son-in-law Moses (Exodus 18:13-26).

Remember that Volunteering is Discipleship

I’ve discovered that many churches still view volunteering as roles that need to be filled instead of people that need to be developed. I think we forget how much spiritual growth takes place in someone’s life as a result of volunteering. Instead of viewing volunteering as filling roles to run a church, volunteering should be viewed as a part of the spiritual pathway of our churches. It’s a subtle yet significant shift that needs to be made in our thinking for the sake of the spiritual formation of the people that have been entrusted to us.

Pay People to be Volunteer Specialists

If you’re going to use volunteers heavily in your church this doesn’t mean you’re not going to pay some staff. But when you do, make sure you pay for administration, mobilization, and highly skilled specialized roles. I say administration because volunteers would rather give their time to ministry that touches people’s lives than pushing paper. Those who are great at mobilization will utilize volunteers well because they know how to drive the project management of a team and think people first and roles second. Finally there are just going to be some highly skilled roles you’re going to need to pay for like the primary communicator/teacher, I.T., and so on.

Posted in Volunteers


living in a van down by the river

Okay, so I admit it. Put me in the camp of, “I’m still bummed that Chris Farley is no longer with us.” He was an incredible artist and comedian, and we’re worse for him not being here. Now, for those of you who are still reading this post and haven’t gone all “Pharisaical” on me, one of my favorite Chris Farley moments was the SNL skit where a suburban dad hires him as a motivational speaker to address the dangers of drugs and other at risk behavior with his children. If you haven’t seen it recently, click here it’s worth the smile:


Now that you’ve got that out of your system and you’ve sent it to all of your friends in the office, let me bluntly say that we’ve got a motivational problem in the church today. Talk to the average churchgoer who claims to be a Christ-Follower and they know what they should do…they just have a hard time doing it. You can bring up, parenting, money, volunteering, or a whole host of spiritual disciplines or issues and the problem is consistent across the board. The problem isn’t an information problem; it’s an obedience problem (some would call that a maturity issue by the way).

While it’s easy to point the finger at people and say it’s their own fault, church leadership has a heavy burden to shoulder in this conversation. And it centers on this issue of motivation. Primarily due to the fact that we’ve done a poor job as church leaders motivating people to put faith into action and follow Jesus due to our own misunderstanding of what it takes to motivate people. Take a look at the 6 basic levels of motivation below. Which ones do you and your church naturally drift towards?

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Posted in Leadership, Volunteers


building and leading a volunteer organization

What would you do if the ministry you are leading doubled tomorrow? Now respond to that question again, however this time try resolving it without any additional time or money to throw at the problem. Problem you say? Yes…problem. Your ministry doubling tomorrow would be a tremendous opportunity and an exciting moment, you may even have to pinch yourself, but there would be serious problems to solve (even if they were good problems) if you hope for that growth to be sustainable.

You may take a look at what you are doing and begin to prioritize by learning to say “no” some things. But prioritization will only get you so far. The only sustainable answer is volunteers. No matter how creative or innovative you may be, the only thing you can reproduce with limited resources is yourself. The Apostle Paul says it this way in the book of Ephesians…

Ephesians 4:11-13

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”

So according to the Scriptures, the primary job of a Pastor is to equip the Church to be the Church. Not to do the work of the ministry for them, or to get them to do the work of the Pastor. But to lead them to do the work of God…and that is to advance the Gospel. The most important asset you have as a Pastor is not your buildings, budget, or even your vision. It is the people that God has entrusted to you. So below are a few thoughts that may help you in building and leading this volunteer organization called the Church. For your volunteers to jump on board, and stay on board, you’ve got to answer 4 key questions for them…

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Posted in Leadership, Volunteers
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