At our church we seek to help people move along a path we have labeled 3D. We are seeking to assist our members as they move from discovery through discipleship to devotion. Like many other churches, our desire is to see people develop into "fully devoted followers of Christ." In order to be true to our mission and consistent with our Biblical mandate, we need to see volunteering for what it really is.
Too often we find ourselves looking only at the ministry needs we see in front of us. In order to fill those spots or needs, we then see our volunteers as a "means to the end." They are resources available to us to "check out and use" just like the tables and chairs or the buses. In fact, in one very popular church software system, they are actually listed as "resources" to be scheduled.
However, in our mission statement, helping to move a person into devoted service (volunteering/serving) is a part of the ultimate desire or "end." We must be most concerned with helping people become and accomplish what God has for them. When that is kept before us, it surely changes the way we both view and use our faithful. It makes our concern not the programs, but the people. We are not in the business of filling positions, but of building people.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (Eph 4:12-13)How about you? Are you looking at people as resources to be used for your programs, or are your programs being used to build up the people? Means or end? It makes a difference!