Sunday, we celebrated our wonderful volunteers at VCF. We are blessed to have a church with dedicated and committed volunteers.

I am reminded that when Janet and I became parents, we noticed that our friendships started to change. We’d get together with our friends, just like before, but the conversations now revolved mostly around the little babies and toddlers crawling on the floor. The focus shifted from one another to the children we were learning to parent.

Honestly, the same thing happened in our marriage. Although we were side-by-side, much of our attention shifted to focusing on—a.k.a. trying to keep alive—our little babies.

I found the same thing can happen in ministry. As leaders, it is easy to focus on serving people and miss the richness of relationship with fellow volunteers, those serving alongside us. Our conversations focus primarily on the people in need or in ministry, and we don’t really know one another.

The mission of ministry, yes, even the passion of ministry is both exciting and exhausting. Without deep relationships with other workers we can feel like ministry mercenaries—hired guns unleashed to care for those who have greater needs than ourselves. But when the VCF team begins to feel like a family with a shared mission (a.k.a. youth, hospitality, building maintenance, etc.), it can become a place we not only expend energy, but also receive life.

How do we develop the sense of the ministry team as a family on mission?

 

Here are a few ideas:

When you see other volunteers ask them how you can pray for their marriage, family, job, etc. Take a moment to pray for them right on the spot.

Grab coffee or a meal together. Invite them over to your home. When you get together, ask them about their faith story and what they are learning about trusting Jesus in this season of their life.

Talk about the two things that you have in common with your fellow volunteers — Jesus and a desire to serve.

Ask each other what you’re learning from God’s Word. Read a book together and share your insights and applications.

Do things outside of church. Don’t wait for a pastor or elder to be your event coordinator. You don’t need permission. Invite people over for a board game night, to watch a football game, play a round of golf, go shopping, double date, or go for a run.

Look for ways to serve one another. When you hear a team member had a baby, got sick, has a financial need, or is looking for a job, step in and help.

There is something powerful when we move from a team of ministry volunteers to a family on mission to reach, raise, and release VCF attendees and members with the gospel. Ministering to others is rich. Ministering to others alongside a bunch of friends? Priceless! Now that is a gif!