Is our thinking of church members as “volunteers” faulty? A careful look at Scripture shows no one stepping up to the plate and volunteering to serve God or follow Jesus. Not Abraham, not Moses, not David or any of the of the Old Testament personalities. Not one person in the New Testament seems to have volunteered to follow Jesus. Not one of the Disciples or Apostles, not Paul, or anyone else. They didn’t just have and encounter with God or a meeting with Jesus and say, “How about me helping you in the work that you are doing?” Not at all. They didn’t volunteer – not one of them. They were “called”. Every last one of them were “called” by God or Jesus to join Him in the work that he was doing.
Perhaps the ineffectiveness, the weakness, the frailty, the failure, the lack of consistency, zeal and enthusiasm in the modern day church is the fact that members see themselves as volunteers rather than “called”. The attitude of “take it or leave it,” certainly prevails today. As one young person told me years ago when I asked if I would see them at church on Sunday, “If I don’t have anything else to do, I’ll be there.” Another said, “If I don’t have anywhere else to go, I’ll be there.” A church member was asked if they would go and visit a person in the hospital. Their response was, “We pay our church staff to do that!” Such responses are certainly that of a volunteer. There is no sense of commitment or responsibility, of loving Christian concern, call or purpose in those responses. Not to mention a desire to worship God, study his word, and seek his Will. To volunteers everything is optional. To the “called,” the motivation is a love response to “give of your best to the Master, give Him first place in your heart; give Him first place in your service, consecrate every part” (Howard B. Grose).
Is our thinking of church members as “volunteers” faulty? The answer can be found by looking at the word “Church”. The Greek word for “Church” is “Ekklesia”. Correctly translated, Ekklesia means “The called out ones.” Gordon MacDonald says in his book, “Ordering Your Private World,” “Jesus Christ…seems to prefer to work with people whom He calls. And that is why the Bible knows nothing of volunteers, only the called.”
As a professing Christian and church member, do you see yourself as a volunteer or one of the “called out ones?”
In His Love,