Volunteers and church staff need to remind each other of the deep truths they believe and how that fuels their mission. Simple enough.
But when holidays, special events, and the week-to-week routine roll around (= 24 / 7 / 365), that’s not as easy as it sounds.
Take Easter, for example. (Side note: If you let your events get hijacked by the so-called “Easter” bunny, you’re on your own, folks.) Your church probably has extra services, more music, more sprucing up, more decorations (though not nearly what we do at Christmas), and more printed/electronic communication to the community. All of these take a lot of additional time and creative effort. And all of them can siphon off volunteer hours galore.
You would think that the extra emphasis on the Easter message would help volunteers and staff to appreciate Jesus’ suffering for our sin and His resurrection even more. Many times, though, the appreciation stays on the surface. Volunteers get tired and staff get burned out. I’ve seen exhausted music directors turn cranky and crazy.
A quick prayer at the beginning or end of a rehearsal just doesn’t cut it. A brief reminder doesn’t penetrate the veneer. You have to be intentional about focusing minds and hearts on your purpose and where it fits within the overall mission.
It’s never too late to help church volunteers thrive, whether you are a leader or a co-worker.
Try these steps:
1. Keep it healthy.
Even Leonardo da Vinci had assistants. No one needs to work around the clock. No one needs to lift and tote and build until they drop over. No one even needs to shop ‘til they drop! Provide healthy snacks, plenty of H2O, and adequate rest. Recruit a big enough team — and let others help. Pay attention to the health and safety of the people around you. Worn out people can’t appreciate the meaning of ministry.
2. Keep it happy.
Laugh a lot and have fun. Even the most serious projects and events should have moments when you enjoy each other’s company. Yes, our efforts have eternal ramifications, but not every step has life-or-death consequences. Tempers tend to flare when people get too tired or excessively serious. Find ways to put a smile on your own face and the face of those around you. Take your mission seriously, take yourself seriously, and take your joy seriously!
3. Keep it holy.
This may seem counter to #2, but it shouldn’t be. Remember that you are with people who believe in the God who does not tolerate sin. This is where you set limits on the things you do to provoke laugher or light heartedness. This is where you take time to remind each other of the profound reasons that you are doing what you do. This is where you remind yourself that members of God’s family are still growing — they need your patience, your example, and your wise counsel. You shouldn’t have to think hard about how your activity ties to the reason you are doing it, but you may need to think ahead to communicate the reason. Take more than a “moment” to think deeply and connect sincerely. You will find that it is well worth the effort.