Lessons from a Volunteer-Turned-Full Time Staff Member

by | Leadership, Team Development

By Kari Martinez

Finally! The last paper was signed – I’m officially a full-time employee at my church!

I’d been volunteering a ton of hours in the Audio/Visual (AV) ministry for about two years at my church with the hopes to get hired. All I wanted for the last couple of years had come to fruition; I’m still able to spend most of my time doing what I love (spreading God’s Word through technology), and now I get paid for it!

I was excited to be where God allowed me to be, but I was more excited when He started showing me lessons, reminders, and revelations. Here they are, thus far:

  1. Humble yourself
  2. Bring people up
  3. Remember why you’re doing it

Humble Yourself

Being hired on, there is the opportunity to know what is happening before the rest of the congregation. It’s awesome because, sometimes, you may have more responsibility than others to be part of making an idea or event come alive for the rest of the community.

As staff members, we can sometimes forget that volunteers are playing just as big of a part as the rest of the staff and it can be easy to think of them as just your ministry’s helpers. I’ve been caught thinking I’m in charge sometimes, thinking I’ve “made it”; but where I was lacking, I was quickly reminded to humble myself. If you are currently a volunteer, remember that what you are doing really does matter and you are just as much a part of the team as the rest of everyone serving.

Bring People Up

Whether you are a volunteer or a staff member, it’s important to bring people up. I remember when I was a volunteer, all I wanted was to be poured into, I wanted to soak up as much as I could from the staff in the AV ministry. Eager to learn more to help out others, it was noticed. Everyone around me was taking time to teach me. I see that tenacity in volunteers in the team I’m in now, also. Bringing people up doesn’t just mean teaching the technical side of ministry, but rather making sure they have the opportunity and space to grow in Christ, also.

Remember Why You’re Doing It

It doesn’t matter if you are a faithful volunteer or on staff at church, there might come a time where you may be tired and want a break, or maybe serving starts to feel mundane. We may not be growing as fast as we may want to; we may not get some recognition all the time; or we may just get used to the motions, but we truly have to remember why we do what we do. We don’t work unto men or unto ourselves. When feeling discouraged, impatient, or tired, remember you are inviting and creating a space where people are getting refreshed or reborn.

Working at a church or being a famed volunteer isn’t your ultimate goal as a Christian–it’s giving ourselves to God for Him to use us the way He wants us to be used. Being on both the volunteer and staff perspective, I have realized we shouldn’t limit ourselves to serving in a building where people come to hear God’s word, but rather go out into the world and serve there, too, where we are not serving in a church but rather serving as the Church.

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