Editor’s note: Looking for help as you work with volunteers? Check out CTA’s new resources for Christian workers. They are designed to help you identify, recruit, encourage, and retain workers. Want to say thanks? Here are the resources to help you do that!
“I’ll do it!” Becky declared. Her face radiated joy and enthusiasm. Becky liked to help out, especially at church. Talkative and always smiling, her presence always encouraged others.
But this particular project demanded hours of tedious research. And it involved little social interaction. By the end of week two, Becky’s shoulders started to slump. Her smile slowly faded, and a small frown appeared on her brow.
“Why can’t I do this?” she finally cried out in a desperate prayer.
Many volunteers, eager at first to serve, become discouraged after working on a specific project. If they encounter an especially challenging assignment, if they feel embarrassed about their failure or frustrated when the help they expect never arrives, some may even leave the church! Predicting and preventing this is the first key in enlisting and retaining volunteers.
Jim Collins, respected writer in the area of organization effectiveness, says, “If we get the right people on the bus, [and] the right people in the right seats, . . . then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
“Who’s the right person for this position?” Sometimes the answer to that question involves issues of spiritual giftedness, and sometimes it involves issues of natural talents and abilities. No matter how hard you work at encouraging volunteers, it’s almost impossible to spark enthusiasm if you have the “wrong people in the wrong seats” of your church’s “bus”!
The Lord has promised to equip his Body with all of the specific skills, talents, and spiritual gifts we need. The Holy Spirit prepares each believer for unique service in the local congregation so that his Church may grow in grace. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4–26; Ephesians 4:11–12.)
Aware of this, you might consider using tools to discern the spiritual gifts of members before you recruit them for specific tasks. While many spiritual gifts inventories have been developed, all are designed to zero in on a person’s God-given traits, interests, and passions. Some are even available online and will provide instant analysis free! You can find them by typing “spiritual gifts inventory” into your favorite search engine.
Or consider simply sitting down to talk with your volunteers one-on-one. Ask what they’ve enjoyed doing in the past. Ask where their interests lie, what gets them really excited. Very often, our passions provide clues to our giftedness.
Every committed Christian wants to serve the Lord Jesus; the Holy Spirit has gifted each of Christ’s people for service. Trust that he’s done this, and ask his guidance as you seek to place the right people into just the right positions. Then, ask that he will build his church as he has promised and that he will bring joy and a sense of fulfillment to each volunteer’s heart.
© 2013 CTA, Inc. No duplication of this article is allowed without the express written consent of CTA, PO Box 1205, Fenton, MO 63026-1205. www.CTAinc.com.
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