No more "volunteers" at church

March 15, 2015

Language matters. Particularly, the language we use in worship matters. So, my ears perked up recently when in worship congregation members were besieged by many, oh so many, opportunities to “volunteer.”

Now I’m all for businesses giving their employees time off for volunteering. I’m all for helping people. I’m all for paying it forward. But I don’t think “volunteer” is the right word to use when Christian communities worship together. 

Rather than merely volunteering, it sounded like we were actually being asked to take up a particular call to discipleship. Because of our faith, we were being asked to respond to the claims Jesus makes on our lives by living as his disciples today.

Or, perhaps we were being called to ministry. Anyone can volunteer, but Christian ministry flows from baptism, from stewardship of our gifts and a decision to live them out in a particular Spirit-filled vocation.

Or maybe we were given opportunities to witness to God’s love for all the world by sharing it in turn.

Possibly it wasn’t volunteers she sought, but Christians who felt a call from God to use their gifts from God in particular acts of service to their neighbor.

On the other hand, it’s a great church and it was a long worship service. Saying volunteer is much faster than explaining all that. I’m sure that’s what our leader meant.

Originally posted at A Wee Blether