Archive for the ‘Experiences’ Category

This January, we’re planning a Ministry Expo at Granger Community Church.  That’s awesome for many reasons. January is a great time to introduce Jesus’ perspective on serving and offer opportunities for volunteering. It will allow many people to step outside of themselves and examine the benefits of being part of a team. A team that will add value to others and fill the voids created when we’ve yet to decide to engage in ministry for the cause of Christ. 

What kind of voids am I talking about? How about the gap between our giftedness and someone else’s needs? When we use our gifts to serve and help others, we’re on mission to change the world for Christ. Or what about the lack of “koinonia” in our lives? When we’re on mission with team members, we’re encouraged, challenged, strengthened and simply made to laugh right when we need it.

January is a great time to offer a fresh start – an additional perspective – on giving, one that includes the most precious commodity: time.

The challenge (read as opportunity) comes when our teams prepare for a four-week series that will honor, inform and engage would-be volunteers, one that will only work if our plans have been put in place by December. How does your December look?  I thought so.

For the next few posts, I’ll be taking you on the journey of Expo preparation.  I’ll skip past the Guest Relations-side of my job in keeping up with December’s activities while planning for an Expo so you’ll not send me sympathy cards.

Let’s start with giving you a broad picture of the series, a sequence that’s focused on volunteerism and volunteers. I believe wrapping an Expo is paramount. Rather than just lobbing an Expo out there and “hoping” for the best, we’re making it the center piece of a series of weekend services that take into account the teachings of scripture on serving, examine the benefits, celebrate the accomplishments and honor the current volunteers. Not effectively done on a single weekend.

We’re taking these four weeks and looking at all of this and more. Right in the middle of the series, we’ve set aside two weekends where the Expo happens. It will conclude every service at every campus.

Here at GCC, we have what we call “big buckets” of ministry. From an organizational viewpoint, they simply look something like this:

1. Arts (creative, performing, communication and technical)

2. Campus Support (grounds, maintenance, facility care)

3. Guest Relations & Care (guest services, retail services, care and support)

4. Kids and Students (yep, kids and students)

5. Mission (international,  “local” and inner city)

6. Technical and Skilled (IT, Admin, Finance)

The point is, there are only six “stations” our guests could visit during this Expo.  They’re right in the auditorium with banners hanging and lit for all to see. Our guests have printed materials in their weekend bulletin to look at. After a couple of weekend teachings about SHAPE, the importance of serving, etc., we’ll encourage them to only pick one or two possible interests as a first step.

In the coming posts, we’ll look at key factors to be managed in advance, during and after the event.  I hope it helps.

Often times when I think of a volunteer Rockstar, I’ve tended to stereotype the requirements or limit them to the amount of “time-served.”  Although that’s an impressive way to grab the attention of any ministry leader, it’s not the sole measurement.

There is one Rockstar you won’t see here on the weekends, serving alongside the hundreds of other volunteers that make a typical weekend run so smooth. And you won’t see him during the week, serving with our ministry outreach teams across the communities or the world. You won’t even recognize this volunteer because his primary serving capacity takes place inside the walls of his business.

I first met Tim Markley in April of 2005 when his name came to me as someone interested in helping with “graphics.”  Having no clue what he meant by that, I called and found out that his business was graphics-centered.  After a long conversation, I grabbed a few staff members and took a tour of his business.

I remember the feeling of awe when he told us “whatever you want, just let me know.”  That was the beginning of a new look for our church.

Be honest for a moment … haven’t you known someone who thought, “I wonder how much “that” church pays for all those series promotional posters?  I’ve enclosed a few to remind you of how long this has been going on.

That” church – our church – is being blessed nearly every week or series since 2005 with the generosity of Tim’s graphics company.  Not only does Tim’s company print these dynamic, eye-catching gems, but he or a member of his team delivers the finished graphics to the Granger site.

These are ginormous scenes require a great deal of preparation, management and a commitment to excellence that Tim has overseen. I would venture to guess that his incredible gift through the years has reached into the thousands of dollars.  Now, as you may remember I’m not good at math, so let’s just agree that whatever the gift, it’s been amazing.

The amount of the gifting has never been a concern of Tim’s.  He loves the church and its mission, vision and values so much that he’s doing what he’s been blessed to do to help reach people for Christ.

I wish I could post my favorite 50 pictures of Tim’s work over the years but I’ll just conclude by saying this: If it’s been displayed as a poster board or vinyl on our campus, it’s probably because of Tim Markley and his gifting to the church.

Thank you Tim.  You’re a Rockstar in the eyes of the few who know you and now that you’ve been exposed, may others celebrate in the gift of your ministry to us.

Photos: Jeff Petersen

#4 “I tried it once and it didn’t work out.”

That’s normal and we can fix that. Really. Unless you understand some basic principals of Rick Warren’s work revolving around the acronym SHAPE, you might just miss your calling a couple of times before you hit your sweet spot. Discovering your unique SHAPE (Spiritual gifting’s, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences) will go a long way in helping you discover opportunities that don’t feel like you’re going to the dentist office every time your weekend to serve arrives. Serving doesn’t have to hurt to matter – but to those who are hurting, your serving matters. Whether helping to serve inside or outside the “box,” there are opportunities where we make a difference in the lives of others that will actually bring joy to our often self-centered lives. If at first you don’t succeed … but this time, bring a little SHAPE to the mix.

#5 “I don’t know what I want to do” (So you’ll keep doing nothing?)

Here’s what’s simple: If you’re not sure where to start, you might look into #4 and then be determined to “just say yes.” Here’s what’s difficult: It’s kind of just the reverse of breaking a bad habit.  In this case, you know you should do something but the gap between your head and heart is often filled with competing emotions of good intentions, distractions and deterrents. Speaking of which, it’s somewhat like a quote Oprah reportedly said in the news this week. It’s actually really meaningful: “People don’t change because of what they know but because of what they feel.” Profound. Let’s stop there. My hope in calling out all of these excuses is this: Christ Followers move from what they THINK in their heads is the right thing to deciding in their heart that it’s time to DO the right thing.

#6 “Everything’s under control” (I don’t think I’m needed)

Look around you – you’re kidding, right?! For the sake of argument, let’s just say that every ministry is fully staffed with volunteers and your church appears to be “under control” (pause for breath and reflection). What about outside the church “box?” What about the workplace where you might be a light in a dark world? What about the hurt you could bring relief to at your local shelter? Your community doesn’t have those problem areas? Well, I guess you’re not needed then. Which brings me to my second point: This entire serving thing (although sounding counter-intuitive) is about you! Why? Because you need to be in relationships. You need to be part of something outside of yourself. You need to feel the joy of giving. You need someone to tell you “thanks.” You need to know you’ve made a difference. You need to express your giftedness – to serve and do good works in this world because you (all of us) were made by God to do so. It’s that whole “salt and light” thing.  (Matt.5:13-16)

More excuses coming soon. I’m 56; I’ve heard many.