As a pastor, preaching messages almost every week, and teaching Bible studies and leading small groups, one of the great dangers I face is doing more "cooking" than "eating." Imagine a chef that prepared wonderful three course meals every day, but never stopped to taste the ingredients he was preparing. It wouldn't be long before this chef no longer had the strength or health to continue preparing this wonderful meals.
One of the great privileges we have in our fellowship is an abundance of volunteers, helping to make many different aspects of our ministry move forward. We have nursery workers, we have children's church teachers, we have sound technicians and video technicians, we have vocalists and musicians and we have greeters and ushers - EVERY WEEK! Every weekend we have a crew that covers every aspect of these areas. It's not easy to put together teams like that, but God has provided and we say, "to God be the glory!"
However, let me address something very important. When we moved to two service in November of last year, one of the areas we stressed was the importance of sitting one service and serving one service. Some of you have fully embraced this concept and I applaud you. You are recognizing the importance of being fed even when you are feeding others. Some of you, however, have not embraced the concept. Perhaps you are asking: why is it important?
The reason it is important is that in order to avoid the dreaded burnout that we often see in volunteer ministry, in order to avoid spiritual malnutrition, those who are serving in any area of ministry must be fed from another. I mentioned earlier that as I prepare to preach and teach each week, that practice could lend itself to not being fed enough myself. In order to balance it out, I spend a good deal of time reading and listening to other speakers and teachers so that I stay fed. After all, I cannot serve meals if I am not fed!
I know that making the commitment to serve in one service and then sit in another is a big time commitment. I understand that many of you have families and time with this is precious. My encouragement to you is that as you serve, your children are watching and learning. As you commit to the work of the church, your children are watching and learning. They are learning what is important for you and they are making life long choices as a result of it. Values are being formed. Be willing to make the sacrifice.
At our current volunteer staffing, most volunteers are serving 1-2 Sundays a month. Sit one, serve one, applies to all volunteers that are leaving the sanctuary to teach or work in our nursery areas. As we grow our volunteer and teaching teams, this requirement will go down. In order for that to happen, we need more people who are willing to serve! Our goal is 1 Sunday of service every 2 months. Not bad! It can happen and we have more than enough people to make it happen.
Thank you to all who give of their time, not just on Sunday mornings, but throughout the week. Many areas of ministry are covered and staffed because you give your time and you give it freely. Thank you for being servants!