As leaders, we have to reject the idea of promoting one ministry over another. I’ve been a part of plenty of churches where staff members would (gasp!) steal people from someone else’s ministry. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve done it myself a time or two (or 168…not that I’m keeping track). But in a healthy church, pastors promote ministries that aren’t necessarily their own. They understand that people should serve from passion, not from pushing. They know that servants serve best when their wiring and their hiring are in alignment. They get the fact that people would rather serve because they get to, not because they’re guilted to.
In your church, that might mean that you don’t steal from other ministries, you send to other ministries. We want to view each of our ministries as a training ground that could eventually or potentially give someone else a really good volunteer. For example, if someone is incredibly effective at working the guest services team, why not tap them to replicate the guest services DNA within the student ministry? Or why not take a gifted musician from the main worship service and bless the children’s worship with them?
The point: the body of Christ is much too important to build fences and hoard volunteers. We’ve got to be about the business of helping all ministries grow, all the time. Let’s do less hoarding and more sending.
An earlier version of this post was published in March 2009.