Why Is It Always the Same People?

First of all, I want you to know that this is a church truism.  I’ve talked with church leaders all over the country and they have the same problem every congregation has:  the same people do all the work in the church.   In other words, preachers, deacons and elders are always asking for volunteers to do jobs in the church and the same people always volunteer and the same people don’t volunteer.  It’s a bit perplexing and a bit frustrating at times, too.    Let’s be honest here:  some tasks demand little in effort or time.   Then why don’t the church members, who are not assigned any task, volunteering for these tasks?

We can either get very critical or we can attempt to learn why people think the way they do.   By the way, everyone has a ‘reason’ or an ‘excuse.’   To them that is enough and we should accept it and not bother them anymore.  But please allow me to make a few suggestions and comments:

  1.   Everyone of us can contribute more to the church that our bodily presence and a monetary gift.    Each of us is gifted by God for service.   However, some of us think that our sitting in a pew and contributing our money is all that God expects and the brethren should be happy with those.  While both of those are important, they beg the question—why has the Lord blessed me so much?   The answer is simple:  to bless others.   To bear fruit in Jesus’ name.   In the Lord’s church we have propagated that faithfulness is going to church and giving.    While these may contribute in some way to faithfulness, they do not represent fruitfulness and faithfulness in their great scheme of things.  Discipleship is so much more.  However, we haven’t always done a very good job on teaching discipleship.  We’ve been satisfied with teaching attendance and giving.
  2.   Some of these non-involved folks need to be approached personally—by someone other than a paid professional staff member.    Some folks will not volunteer; they must be asked.  I suggest an elder, deacon or ministry leader ask an uninvolved member and not a paid professional staff member.   Those of us who are paid professionals get paid to ask people.   This doesn’t count.  It’s easy to say “No” to a paid professional but much more difficult to say “No” to someone who is more like you.   Bottom line:  some folks must be approached one on one with a request to be involved.   AND, when asked, they should not be allowed to say “No.”   Give them choices and allow them to come up with a ministry of their own design if they don’t like your suggestions. One of readers, Ronny Jones, suggested that some Christians want to serve but need a personal invitation to fulfill or do a specific task that is consistent with their talents, gifts or skills. . This is worthy of thought and trying. I think Ronny is correct. Thanks, Ronny.
  3.   The parable of the four soils does come into play here.   I am convinced this parable was given to elders, deacons and ministers so we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves and not be too disappointed in people.    Some folks will never obey the gospel, some Christians will never mature and some will never bear fruit.    That’s just plain scary because Christ said he would cut off those who didn’t bear much good fruit.   We have little control in this.    Should we give up?   No, we must continue to teach and exhort. Let God handle it His own way and let us obey the Lord.
  4.   Some of us are too busy, period.    This ties into #3; some of our lives are too full of fluff.

  Recently the book The Elite came into print.  The author, a preacher and sports nut, suggests that organized sports have gone overboard to the point that Christians who are involved in sports don’t have time for fellowship, worship, Bible study, prayer, a personal relationship with God and family time.   Cory Ten Boom made the observation that if the devil can’t get you to do wrong, that all he has to do is just keep you too busy for God and His people.   It seems the devil is right about this.

5.  Some, in fact, do have many burdens to bear.   Some members are taking care of sick or shut-in loved ones.   Some are working two or more jobs.    Some are working extreme hours.   Some are discouraged, disappointed or disillusioned.    Some are overwhelmed.    Some have legit reasons.    However, I must add, I know many members that have these same things in common with others and yet they are involved in some form and in some way.

Will we ever have 100% involvement?   Yes.   But for how long?   In 2014 we had 100% ‘promised’ involvement.    100% involvement must be maintained and it is very difficult to maintain.   In an ideal world or church this is the way it should be.   However, we are all at different spiritual levels and we all grow at different paces.   Should we retreat or give up?  Nope.  We should encourage spiritual growth and seek to see folks show their spiritual maturity in many ways including service.   Trav

I suggest the following:

May I be blunt by saying that things are the way they are in the church (the same folks do all the work) because we’ve allowed it and promoted it. Jerrie Barber would probably say that we are happy or comfortable with it that way. However, when we finally get tired of things the way they are (the same folks doing everything) and start teaching for change, things will change for the better. Such an appraoch takes faith and courage. The old approach takes no faith and no courage.

Here are some other suggestions:

Making disciples versus making church members.   We are commanded to do one and Jesus does the other when we obey the gospel.

Preaching and teaching on being fruitful as well as being faithful.   This requires more than two sermons; this is a life time of teaching and preaching.

Bring attention to the fruit bearing of others   Honor to whom honor is due. Focus on the fruitful members and their work; you will be greatly encouraged.