I was once involved with a series of planning meetings that lasted not quite a year. One of those involved with these meetings was a person that you could absolutely count on to be late. He only came on time once in that period of a year, and that was to everyone’s shock. Along with the late arrival came a very kind and pleasant smile, an excuse, and a greeting to all – interrupting the meeting that had already gotten under way. On the nice scale, this person was a ten of ten. But, unfortunately his wonderful character was painfully blemished by his inability to show up on time for anything. The funny part is, this person was oblivious to it and to the reputation that he had earned. A good reputation is hard to come by and to ruin it over something that could be worked out so easily, is a sad thing.
We have an incredibly wonderful ministry within our church called the “Volunteer Development Ministry.” That is the general name given over all the people that serve from a volunteer basis in various areas of ministry. We have people directing traffic in our parking lot, opening the doors for people as they enter the church, greeting everyone that walks through the doors, working our information counter and Visitors Center, ushering people in our sanctuary, working in our choir, band, audio-visual, children’s ministry from infant to senior high school, serving in our coffee bar and café, working security, and medical people working as emergency responders and so much more. These are all lay volunteers serving on a schedule working every other week. They are absolutely faithful and precious and selfless people that we can count on.
When we train people to serve in a ministry from a volunteer position, we retrain their thinking as to what a volunteer is. Most people have this perception that a volunteer may or may not show up depending on if they “feel like it” and they can work for as long or as little as they want. Organizations of any kind that work with volunteers, often suffer from this kind of mentality. It makes it difficult to get much done. That is not the case at our church. We have taught people that when you make a choice to serve in a ministry, you are not a volunteer but someone who has made a commitment to God. We tell them, “treat your commitment like you were working for Jesus Himself – like you were one of His employees.” “Why?” “Because you are!” Col. 3:23 says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Unfortunately, people in daily life don’t always think about or care about their commitment, their work ethic, or their reputation the way they should. We have found that church can be a great training ground for the development of these godly character qualities. It seems that there is a higher sense of caring in our church. We do emphasize faithfulness in commitment, walking in love, and serving with excellence in all we do. It helps create a place where people practice that and consequently develop in it. The character that is built into our volunteers over time is amazing! They often comment on how it has helped them at work and led to them developing a good reputation in other areas of their life.
We have seen people be absolutely transformed into dedicated, hard working, committed people that develop great reputations not only at church, but in the workplace also. In the workplace, people will do good and right things because they are motivated by the promise of a paycheck, a bonus, a promotion, or something tangible. This doesn’t necessarily build right motivation and character. When you learning to be faithful when there is no paycheck involved, your motivation gets worked out and it builds character in you. When you serve people and your motivation is your love for God and to love His people – that purifies your motivation and character!
Yesterday at church I greeted a woman I had not seen in two years. We talked for a few minutes. Her mother in Africa had gotten sick two years ago. She had to quit her job and go back there to help her. Just recently she was finally able to come back. She called her old boss. He was delighted to get her back and made a place for her. She called one of our ministry leaders and asked if she could serve again. He immediately put her on a schedule. Within two weeks of being back from Africa, she was at church and serving. This woman is like gold to everyone she is around.
Imagine for a second that your boss stopped in to talk with you. He lays down ten names before you and says, “Help me choose one of these people. I need to promote one of them to fill a position.” As you looked at each name, they would represent something positive or negative to you. Who is the person that has the reputation that is “like gold” in your eyes? Can you see how it benefits them? Is that your reputation? It can be if you will learn the value of today’s Fresh Manna verse, “Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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