Don’t Volunteer-Belong!

April 28, 2017

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Earlier this week, Director of Youth Ministries Jen Evans posted on Facebook the link to a blogpost with the headline:

Your Church Does Not Need Volunteers

My first thought was, Oh this must be the profile of some crazy church where everybody sits around in a circle, sings Kumbaya and waits for God to take care of everything. 

Then I came to my senses and remembered that Jen posted it and she definitely does not take the sit-around-and-wait approach to life.

Still, as the person whose job it is to help members and prospective members explore opportunities for meaningful engagement inside and outside the walls of FPC, the piece intrigued me.

Here’s one thing the blog said that really hit home for me:

“You cannot volunteer at your own church, in the same way you cannot babysit your own kid. Because the church belongs to you in the same way your family does. It’s your own place, your own people…A volunteer, in most cases, is just visiting. A fly-by. Maybe it’s a helpful fly-by, but it’s not the same as belonging to something. It’s not the same as contributing to something bigger than you, something that’s part of who you are… whatever we do, we should remember that we don’t just belong to the church—it belongs to us. And we do not babysit that which is ours.”

Here at FPC, I don’t see us as people who “volunteer,” either. We don’t serve our community as a way to check something off our “Good Christian” checklist. I believe God has a purpose for our lives and that each one of us is called to a particular ministry or service in this world. Frederick Buechner describes “call” or vocation as “Where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

So I ask you:

  • What intrigues you?
  • What makes your heart beat?
  • What sparks your curiosity?
  • Do you want to feel more alive?

Think about these questions as you ponder actively engaging in something bigger than you, something that might become part of who you are!

Call (704.927.0242) or email me if you want to know more about joining God and fellow FPCers meeting the world’s deep hunger with our deep gladness.

– Mary Scott Peterson, Ministry Team Coordinator