This is about Church volunteerism. Don't go away yet, this just might be something you need to read or better yet, give me your opinion.
I see this from two perspectives. The first is as a church staff member. The second is as a volunteer. You could say, I fell into my staff position because of volunteer work my husband was doing. I'll get back to that later.
First let me ask you, do you volunteer at church?
Do you teach Sunday school, children's choir, serve food at Wednesday night supper, sing in choir or praise team? What about running a camera or Easy worship or sound equipment? Do you set up chairs for a service that meets in a gym? What do you do?
Do you do anything but sit in a pew? Don't get me wrong there are times we need to sit and refresh and be renewed in the word. But have you thought that there may be people serving in your church who have not sat through a service to refresh and renew because their job is to "work" during the service. Have you wondered if there is anyone who fill in for them so they can just sit sometimes?
Studies show that most churches run on the 80/20 system; 20% of the people are doing 80% of the work. I would venture to guess that if you are serving at your church, it is in more than one area. Say, choir, teach Sunday school and help out in the nursery from time to time. That is a lot.
As one of my "staff" jobs, I am the volunteer coordinator for our Media Ministry. On any given Sunday, there are 32 media slots to fill. We usually have around 19 people each week to fill those slots. That means that many of these volunteers are working in multiple services (8:30,11:00 and 6:00pm). If they are working in multiple services, when do they get to actually go to church and refresh and renew?
I feel terrible asking peole to serve SO much. It breaks my heart to think that they are getting totally burned out. I have volunteers who have not been out more than 3 Sundays in 2 years. The pastor gets more time off than that. Now it is different in some areas where you can bring anyone in to fill a nursery slot. But these are jobs that require training ahead of time. It is not that the job is hard, it just requires a little training.
I had someone say something to me last night that cut to my heart. I had to ask him to pick up another Sunday service, which means another week of not "worshiping" but "working". He said, "you guys are really taking advantage of me and wearing me out. You are on staff...I am not." I wanted to crumble to the ground right there. I didn't have anything to say, but I am sorry, but I don't have another option.
Now, my husband is a "volunteer". He/we have to be at church at 7:30am each week as he runs graphics/video for the Praise & Worship service as do I from time to time. I no longer have a volunteer to trade off with him every other week. His replacement quit. Who could blame him. My daughter has to spend the night with family on Saturday night because we have to be there so early. We have not gone to church as a family in a long time. My husband also is the engineer at our 11am service that is broadcast for TV, and I sing in the choir for that service. So we are there all morning. Is that nutty?
As a staff member I am burning out the volunteers... as a volunteer... I am burned out myself.
It is a vicious circle, too few people volunteer, making it harder for those who do, burning them out quickly so that they quit and make it tougher for the others, and so on and so on.
Now, this is my question for you. What are you doing to help? Have you wondered, what can I do? Or better yet, have you never asked yourself that question? If so, you are reading this right now because God has a plan and purpose for you in the local church. Our Lord doesn't ask us to do His work without helping us. He blesses each of us with specific abilities—spiritual gifts—for the ministry He wants us to be in. 1 Corinthians 12 affirms that "God gives [spiritual gifts] to each one, just as he determines." (v. 11) We all have something to offer in ministry, because He gave it to us!I am sure there is someone at your church just waiting to get your call or email saying, "I think I'd like to volunteer somewhere."
Do you know your spiritual gifts? If you would like to take a Spiritual Gift Inventory Test you can. It will help you see areas of service you may be perfect for.
Pray about your role in your local church. Pray about it, ask God to show you where He wants you to serve. And above all, pray for those who faithfully serve every week, say thank you when you have the chance.