I’ve long told you that we have some of the best volunteers at any church, anywhere. In full disclosure, lots of pastors at lots of churches say that, but the difference is it’s really true of ours (nudge nudge, wink wink).
This past weekend, we had what we call a “weather event” in the Triangle of North Carolina. And by “weather event” I mean it was cold, dreary, rainy, wet, nasty, gross (did I mention rainy?). It was the kind of weekend where even ducks and polar bears start checking out Travelocity for resort deals in warmer climates.
And yet, everywhere I looked there were volunteers. Setting-up-parking-cones-volunteers. Greeting-guests-on-the-sidewalk-volunteers. Parking-cars-in-the-rain-volunteers. Getting-soaked-to-the-bone-and-maybe-a-touch-of-hypothermia-volunteers.
At our Brier Creek Campus, Tom & Barb & Jeff were in their normal positions by 7:45 AM, getting the parking lot ready for the arrival of guests. At North Raleigh, I saw a small army of guys who – if they were ticked off about serving in the cold rain – certainly didn’t show it. At Chapel Hill, our top-notch parking team didn’t let a little moisture keep ’em from donning their festive Christmas sweaters. At North Durham, Dot & Cathy & Linda & Susie & Conway maintained their position on the front sidewalk, making sure our First Time Guests knew exactly where to go. And at our Saturday and Sunday night services at West Club, Brier Creek, Cary, Chapel Hill, and North Raleigh, people got to do all of the above, except they added “pitch black” to the cold / wet / rainy descriptor.
Here’s the thing: even as the First Impressions guy around here, I feel awful to place the “we serve in the rain” expectation on people. I don’t like wet socks and cold hands, and I can only assume they don’t either. But here’s what hit me on Sunday: I’ve long since stopped making the ask. They just do it.
They’re not out there because they’re guilted to, but because they get to.
Their reward goes much deeper than a sunny and 72 degrees weather map.
They’re not serving for their own good. They’re serving for the good of others.
And it’s that “service beyond self” mentality that make our volunteers some of the best that exist. Every time I walk around a campus, every time I see them giving up another weekend to pull off another service, I’m reminded that they’re here because of something bigger. Something beyond them.
They’re loving well because they’ve been loved well. They’re systematically filling the gaps and building bridges towards the gospel. They’re making sure that a little rain doesn’t take people’s eyes off the bigger picture of Jesus. They’re doing whatever it takes to till the soil so the gospel can grow in the hearts of our guests.
What are some areas of “service beyond self” you’ve seen recently? I’d love to hear ’em. Comment below.