Connection and serving (3 of 4)

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At the First Step luncheons, our pastor Gene Appel shares with our guests  that when they volunteer, then something happens: the church you attend becomes your church. 

I remember when that happened for me.

It happened in 2 phases. Phase I was when I was asked to play the piano in children's church when I was only in 5th grade myself. I began to see myself as a contributor, part of the children church staff. Parents thanked me for helping and I felt a shift in my role in our church family.

Phase II happened in high school when I was asked to co-teach 5th grade boys alongside our pastor's son. I began to ask parents how these guys were doing in school, how we could help, going to their games, and praying for them to overcome their challenges. I noticed that certain things in the curriculum we were using were not keeping these boys engaged. I had ideas for driving some of the truths deeper into the awareness of these 5th graders while having some more fun along the way. I asked permission from our Christian education pastor to deviate from script and he gave it.

I didn't know it then, but I had stopped thinking like an attender. Attenders don't ask to change curriculum, attend events and pray regularly for a group of people. I was no longer someone who went to the church because his family did. When I began giving back and taking on responsibility, the church became my church. I had a stake in it. I had ownership.

That's why I want to see our church have a much higher percentage of volunteers serving. I want to help them take their place in the body of Christ.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.-Ephesians 4:16

"As each part does its work". When each organ and body part performs its function, the systems within that body operate. Health and vitality are the result. A new identity, attitude, and sense of ownership in the processes that make that body function immerge. When God adds a part to the body, he already has its function in mind

Any definition of "assimilated" you and I adopt must include this reality: a connected serving member.

At our church, we currently assimilate around 15% of our guests as volunteers. Coincidentally, that's about the same percentage of volunteers that exists among our active attenders. That's not even the proverbial 20% of the church doing 80% of the work. We can do better. 

How do you invite people to begin the journey of serving at your church? In a former post entitled "Our primary way of recruiting volunteers", I shared our most effective way of inspiring and on-boarding guests as volunteers. What is your best way? To learn from each other, post comments to share your best practice. Include links to your webpage so we can learn more. 

Let's help believing people ascend the slopes of service and find higher ground...together.

  • What percentage of your regular attenders should be serving for your church to reach its optimal health?
  • Determine what percentage of your people are serving in your church by using this formula:
    • What is your average attendance?
    • Multiply it by 1.5 to come up with the number of regular attenders you have (defined as someone who attends 1 or more times per month).
    • How many volunteers do you have?
    • Divide the number of volunteers by the number of regular attenders to determine what percentage of your people are serving.
  • What could you do to increase the percentage of volunteers you have this year by 3 to 5%?