I was 29 and in my first year of my vocational ministry as a Children’s Minister. I was privileged to serve with many wonderful volunteers and one such person was Norma Davis. She was eighty years old and quickly shared with me what her needs were! I did my best to meet them as she was a wonderful Sunday School teacher. I thought of her as my “senior angel.” Within a year’s time though, her health began to quickly decline and she had to step out of the classroom. She asked me, “Is there still a place for me to serve?” I said, “Absolutely!” And thus, she became my Sunday School Outreach leader. She would check all of the roll books and send postcards to the new visitors as well as the ones who had missed a few Sundays. Sadly, her health prevented her from continuing even in this role, and she had to step down but not before recruiting her own replacement!
Early on in my ministry, I learned to value volunteers. I understood that a huge part of my calling was to equip, encourage, and empower them to serve well in their area of ministry. One of my favorite words to use is “partnership!” When I think of the many wonderful people, young and old, whom I have had the privilege of partnering with, I am overwhelmed with humble gratitude and joy. I believe partnership is foundational – and people partnering together to accomplish the work of God’s kingdom here on earth is profoundly important! When you look at scripture, you realize that God, Himself, ordained partnership! He partnered with Adam in the Garden of Eden, allowing Adam to name the animals. He partnered with Noah in building the Ark. He partnered with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in setting apart a people of His own choosing. He partnered with Moses to lead His people out of slavery and to give them His laws. He partnered with Joshua, a great military leader, to lead His people into the Promised Land. He partnered with the Judges to instruct His people. He partnered with the kings to rule over His people. He partnered with the prophets to call His people back to Him. He partnered with Mary and Joseph to send His One and Only Son to save us. He partnered with the disciples to share the good news. He partnered with approximately 40 men of diverse backgrounds over the course of 1500 years to write the Bible. Partnership is God’s idea and He calls us to partner with Him and this is where the importance of volunteerism enters in! “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 God asked, and is still asking…who will go? Who will serve? Who will volunteer?
You may be familiar with our vision, “Helping people find life in Jesus Christ by following Him.” But did you know that volunteers are a vital part of us achieving our vision? On our website, when you open the Church Life tab and the Volunteer option, a question is posed “How can I help?” The implication of the question is “How can I help achieve our vision?” This question carries with it a veritable weight of responsibility and importance as it points to what makes up to be one third of our Core Membership. A core member is committed to serving (volunteerism), giving (stewardship), and growing (small group involvement). Can you now better sense the magnitude of this question, “How can I help?” After the above question is posed, a person is prompted to complete a volunteer interest survey.
In our New Member booklet, we give special attention to all three areas of Core Membership. In the booklet, our pastor, Dr. Ross Chandler, writes, “Our staff and members work side by side to accomplish the mission of the church. We have a hybrid system of serving where both committees and ministry teams work in tandem.” This is partnership! He also states, “We have many places to serve, and wherever there is a gap, our members can pray about filling it.”
In the New Member Booklet, Ross also shares this about serving, “Our core is expected to serve in some gospel-centered life-giving way. This can be within one of the ministries or committees of our church or outside of it. Every member is a minister. In addition to these opportunities, all our core members serve at least once per year with our youth or once per year with our children… We Show Our Love By Our Hands.”
I love that phrase. “We show love by our hands.” Our hands are meant to show God’s love; we are called and commissioned to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. We are called to serve; we are called to volunteer.
I recall seeing Norma Davis apply lotion on her hands each Sunday morning, and she seemed to be experiencing some level of pain. I would ask her about it and she would smile and indicate that her hands were dry and just needed a little lotion to soften them up. She would squeeze my hand and then set about her task of writing postcards to the many children and their families. I knew her hands were hurting but I knew she wanted to serve…she simply would not let that stop her from showing love with her hands. Ultimately, her memory was the reason she stepped down from serving. She knew that her memory was failing, and she did not want to let me down by forgetting to do something. So, she stepped down. She may have temporarily forgotten, but I believe God restored her memory in heaven, and she was able to joyfully walk down memory lane remembering all of the love she showed in God’s name to the children.
Volunteers at FBCMF
We currently have core members (volunteers) who are investing in the leadership of:
- 70 Small Groups for Youth and Adults
- 12 Small Groups for Children
- 39 Ministry Teams
- 7 Ministry Committees
- 9 Administrative Committees
- Multiple Special Event Ministries (VBS, Camps, Mission Trips, etc.)
What does this mean?
This list accounts for hundreds of people – core members – who are serving in a volunteer capacity.
Where Can You Serve?
Visit fbcmf.org/volunteer to get plugged in.