Are you set for a Just-In-Time delivery?

by Kristi

(Part 2, follow up on Have you hit the “Easy” Button?)

Have you figured it out yet?  Sometimes we don’t “have” volunteers because we don’t “ask.”  We forget to ask Our Father in Heaven to provide for our needs.  And we forget to ask the people that God puts in front of us.  Multiple times the New Testament instructs us to ask.  Take just a minute to read two verses:  John 14:13 and John 16:24.

One memorable example of this principle followed an excruciatingly painful experience.  A mistake on my part caused a critical part of the worship service to be delayed.  Believe me, I heard about it before the day was over!  It was very tempting to be mad that no one understood how dealings with congregants had caused my tardiness.  Regardless of my feelings, the mandate was the same – don’t be late to the worship service!!!!

By Monday I had simmered down, and began to ask for God’s wisdom in understanding if there was anything I could change to avoid the situation another time.  Within just a couple days, I had a clear understanding of the answer.  There was a particular slice of responsibility that seemed very inconsequential.  Yet, it was not a responsibility that I had to hold on to  — it was possible for a volunteer to take care of that responsibility.  By giving over this area to a volunteer, I would then be free for other ministry tasks.

Immediately, I began praying for God to provide a volunteer to take over that one slice of responsibility.  My self-imposed deadline was two Sundays from the incident, as that was a day when the same responsibilities landed on my plate again.  By Thursday before the deadline, I had given up and was planning to handle that task once again.  On Friday, I ran by the office for a small errand on my day off, and was astounded to find God’s provision.

As I walked through a gathering area outside a room where a weekend event was getting underway, I was greeted by an acquaintance:  “Hey, I was wanting to talk to you.  I think I’m ready to get involved as a volunteer.  I’d really prefer something behind the scenes.  I actually have a background as a pastry chef.  I’m not sure if you have a place where you can use my skills, but please start thinking about it.”

Skills that come to mind when you think of “hostess” and “hospitality” were exactly what were needed to answer my prayer.  Surely a pastry chef who wanted to work behind the scenes had that set of skills.  I quickly responded, “That is amazing you would offer.  I have been asking God to provide a volunteer in exactly the role you are describing.  Could you come on Sunday, and I’ll show you what the position entails?”

Needless to say, the volunteer agreed that the position was a fit with her desires and skill set.  As she came to shadow me, her husband joined her, and now I regularly call upon these two volunteers to take over a task that I could handle if I stretched and stressed myself out.

Oh you faint of heart.  You have not because you ask not!  That is me!  Most of the time, as with this topic, I’m “preaching to the choir” and have a strong need to listen to my own words.  This is just one testimonial that God desires to meet our needs…. just on time.  The Father is glorified, as I know for sure that this was His provision and not my work.

Have you hit the “Easy” Button?

I’m intrigued by that big, red “Easy” button in the advertisements of a chain of office supply stores.  You just hit the button and your supplies arrive.  Right.  Sure they do.

I want one of those at the church.  We hit the “Easy” button and a chute out of heaven drops volunteers into our ministries.  Easy!

I saw the button for sale at the store.  Don’t ask me what it does.  (I’m intrigued, not rich — or stupid.)  It’s not connected to anything, as far as I can tell.  If it had some sort of transmitter or phone or wifi, I’m sure that it would cost a bundle.

Is that big, red “Easy” button a metaphor for your volunteer recruiting — great to look at but not connected to the Provider?

Jesus told us to ask “the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).  When God has work to be done, He is ready to send the help.

I considered the idea of having an Easy button connected to a sign that flashed, “Pray!  Pray!  Pray!”  In some ways, it’s a great mental picture, but I’m not ready to start some Push-It-Provide-It theology of prayer.  I want my prayers filtered through John 14:14 (asking in Jesus’ name, according to His will).

There is still a take-away here, though:  Connecting to the Provider.  An Easy button only works in the commercials.  God wants to provide the people for His projects, but He wants us to ask.  Prayer is primary, not an afterthought.

[ In our next post, Kristi writes about a real life example of asking in prayer and receiving an answer — just in time. ]

Are we volunteers?

Does the church have volunteers?

It depends on how you define volunteer.  There are many different definitions.  Some apply in the church; some do not.

Most of the definitions touch on the idea of “monetary” reward.  That’s because there are all sorts of ways to reward people.  Volunteers can be rewarded with everything from a simple smile to an expensive prize for selling the most kumquats (or whatever).

You may think that church volunteers don’t get paid.  Seriously?!  Do the terms crown (1 Peter 5:4), treasure (Matthew 6:20) or even reward (Matthew 10:42) ring a bell?  Of course they do!  But we also know that we love and show love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19), not because we expect to gain something from it.

From time to time on this blog, we will come back to the question of whether the term volunteer is right for the church context.  As we put together this website, our functional definition is that a church volunteer is a person engaged in the ministry of the church in a capacity other than the responsibilities of a paid staff position.

In the meantime, we delve more deeply into the concept in our article, Are We Volunteers?   Click here → – Are we volunteers