Passion + Gifting + Experimenting=Where to Serve
I call the above The Volunteer Equation. I did not completely make this up on my own. I borrowed from the works of Bill Hybels and Dan Allender along with a tweet I read a few years ago from a co-worker of mine.
Bill Hybels was the one who first encouraged me to see the necessity of volunteering. His book, The Volunteer Revolution, challenged me to feel the urgency of volunteering and to embrace the necessity of allowing church members the freedom to explore volunteer opportunities. Due to Hybels work, I am approaching the volunteer crisis at HBC with urgency and with an expectation for our members to explore many volunteer opportunities before they settle on a longer-term commitment.
Allender encouraged me to engage my heart when exploring service and volunteering in the local church. His book, Leading with a Limp, called me to search deep within my soul in order to look for times of crisis and pain in my life. I remember being so riveted by Allender’s thoughts that I could not put the book down. His encouragement to tie calling to pain and crisis still strongly influence how I lead today.
Regarding my co-worker, I remember reading his status, which emphasized the necessity of wise friends speaking into a person’s gifting. His tweet appeared to downplay the role of spiritual gift tests and I remember my first thought being, “Well, that’s not good. Spiritual gift tests are fruitful and informative.” After continuing in the ministry for the last few years, I have found myself leaning more towards my former co-worker’s thinking. Spiritual gift tests are solid tools. They provide you with a frame of reference and an idea regarding your specific spiritual gifts. However, I have discovered that spiritual gift tests can also leave a person confusing and stuck regarding where to volunteer. If you are stuck and don’t know where to serve, ask family members or friends what they see you doing well. Then, go explore areas that connect with both the results of a spiritual gift test and your family/friend’s input.
Before I go, I want to reemphasize why we must volunteer. The first reason is that it is Biblical. Jesus calls us to go and make disciples. For many, the primary avenue through which they “go” is through volunteering at their church. The second reason why we must volunteer is tied directly into the first reason. When we do not volunteer, people go unreached. Jesus has provided way too much hope and healing in our lives for us to not, in turn, go provide hope and healing to others. If you are a member of HBC, I pray you are volunteering. If you are a member of another church, I pray you are volunteering. If you are not volunteering, but are considering it, please do.
(Are you attending HBC and want to know more about our volunteer efforts? Check out HBC's webpage at hardinsburgbc.org and click on the "Volunteering at HBC" tab.)
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.