I work as Director of Family Ministry in my church, and I rely on others in order for our ministry to be fruitful. Above all, I depend on God, and the support of clergy and family are crucial, but without other people I could not be an effective leader.
Who are those other people?
If you search Google for a definition of “volunteer,” you will find “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task; a person who works for an organization without being paid.”
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines volunteer as “a person who does something, especially for other people or for an organization, willingly, and without being forced or paid to do it.”
Those are true definitions, but they fall far short of the real impact and importance of volunteers in ministry. These definitions sound as if volunteers are task-oriented slot-fillers. But people who give their heart, energy, and time are so much more than that.
I believe that a more accurate word to describe a partner in ministry is “lifeblood.”
Google.com says that lifeblood is “the indispensable factor or influence that gives something its strength and vitality; heart; the vital part or essence.”
In The Cambridge English Dictionary, lifeblood is defined as “the thing that is most important to the continuing success and existence of something else.”
Just as blood flows through the entire body and sustains life, the people who offer themselves and their gifts to support ministries of the church are vital in carrying out the church’s mission and keeping it alive. Bringing the love that flows from the heart of God to the tiniest parts of the body is holy work done by people who are so much more than simply volunteers.
A joyful 90-year-old woman named Margaret was part of the energizing lifeblood of Vacation Bible school one summer. As she sat by the front door and greeted children and families each morning with a genuine smile, her joy radiated to each person who entered.
Ms. Mona, with her soft voice and kind eyes, blessed children in her Sunday school class and showed them what Christ’s love looks like. If children were absent, she would send them handwritten letters telling them they were missed. Love flowed through and from Ms. Mona, filling the hearts of the little ones in her care.
Those who teach Sunday school or engage children during worship, supervise mission projects, or lead Vacation Bible school and do it with compassion, commitment, and love: You are the lifeblood of ministry, and I appreciate you!
Some people have been pouring their lives into ministry for years, even decades. They continue to give sacrificially of their time, talents, and energy, and they demonstrate the essence of Christlike service. They have taught me more about what it looks like to be a Christian disciple than I have ever taught anyone. I’m so grateful that they are part of my life.
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.Albert Schweitzer
You can be the person who rekindles the spirit of another. You can supply nourishment to the beating heart of your church and be a catalyst that strengthens and influences the success of ministry. If you would like to be part of the lifeblood of your church, contact your program directors or clergy. There is definitely a place for you to do this holy work.