Archive for the ‘Heart’ Category

Excuses, Excuses. Top Ten

Posted: January 10, 2011 in Encouragement, Heart

Over the busy holiday season, when so many incredible volunteers gave an exorbitant amount of time, several thoughts crossed my mind. As co-leaders in the mission field of volunteerism, I’m sure they’ve crossed your mind, too. I walked among the volunteers in our facility, accosted by endless expressions of joy from those involved, and was reminded that there is true joy in giving; in this case, the joy of giving one’s time. Volunteers were serving to make an impact in the lives of not just the regular, weekend crowds, but also seasonal visitors, friends of friends and first-time visitors. I was in full appreciation mode.

Our volunteers – like yours – had Christmas gifts to buy and wrap, holiday parties to attend and families to visit. They had regular jobs to go to and all the challenges of life to face when they woke up each morning. Where did they find … er, better yet, WHY did they take the time to pour hours and hours into our weekend services?

That’s a pretty easy question to answer, so I’m going to attack the other question – why are there so many Christ followers in your church who won’t? Now, here at Granger we don’t have that problem. Naturally, every single one of our attendees is also a volunteer. In fact, we have to turn volunteers away! So, this blog post is for those of you who have a shortage of “joy bling” in your attendance. Please read on and share with “players” in your church who are choosing to sit the bench.

Pause.

Are you catching the sarcasm yet? There’ll be more.

Over the next couple of blog posts, I’m going to dissect some of the reasoning people give for not getting involved in ministry. I want to try to address them with compassion, but to do so will be (begin sarcasm) a bit of a challenge (end sarcasm) so I’ll just bottom line this: If you are a follower of Christ and not involved in a ministry where you’re serving so that others will “get it” or engaged so that those “without” might receive relief, then you’re not only missing out on an incredible opportunity and real joy, but also living in contrast to the call God has commanded his followers to fulfill. Can I say that to those in our church who, for years, have closed their ears to the call to volunteer? I don’t know, I haven’t asked. But I hope you’re glad someone’s “calling out” those in yours.

What excuses have you heard? Here’s my top ten, in no particular order. Feel free to send the post on anonymously to those who come to mind. I’m not worried about calling anyone out or off the bench; it’s a gift I’ve crafted over the years. The world is watching (and waiting) for followers of Christ in your church to get out of their seats. Heck, Christ followers are watching, too! This consumerism christianity (lower case intended) thing happening in your church is driving me crazy.

I’m posting the first three excuses this Wednesday. My guess is that if you’ve been involved in leadership long, our lists will look alike. Just a hunch.

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I’m going to call these Rock Stars the dynamic duo of volunteerism at Granger Community Church (GCC). As always, my goal is to keep this post short – this is a difficult task when these two individuals do so much.

Mary and her son, Austin, have dedicated a number of years to Son City Kids, a ministry of the Monroe Circle Community Center (MC3) in South Bend, Ind. MC3’s goal is to transform an environment of low-income, subsidized housing into a vibrant, self-sufficient community. Son City Kids aims to provide after-school mentoring and tutoring, artistic programs and Christ-centered lesson plans to show love and hope to the children of these lower-income families. Mary and Austin spend countless hours each month giving their time to Son City Kids and to other MC3 programs.

I’m told that when you watch Mary in action at Son City Kids, there’s complete focus and dedication to engage the children. Because of Mary and Austin, these at-risk children are fed physically, spiritually, creatively and educationally; it’s no wonder they’re adored by the kids. The Son City Kids team leaders have expressed that they consider this duo to be the model and example of a successful relationship between those being served and those doing the serving.

When Austin isn’t being a role model for kids, you can find him behind a camera serving on our I-Mag team. What a gift he is to us. He has a natural tendency to point his camera in the right spot at the right time. That Austin takes on the additional responsibility of other ministries shows how much passion and commitment he has toward serving others; whether it’s with kids or behind a camera, Austin shines in the volunteer spotlight.

Mary and Austin are also regulars on the Guest Services team, where they can be seen assisting guests most every weekend. In addition, they both serve in Guest Services during our Wednesday Journey classes and 1st Wednesday services (when Austin’s not running a camera). They are the first to volunteer at MC3 as well as at the church during workshops and conferences for our WiredChurches ministry.

No matter their circumstances, Mary and Austin never question that their continued mission is to do God’s work. With Austin always at her side, Mary says, “I know God has a plan for me.” And so they continue to relentlessly serve so others can see Jesus. It never ceases to amaze me to see how Mary and Austin always seem to find more of themselves to pour into others. There’s no question; they are Rock Stars.

I remember the day that I first met this Volunteer Rock Star.  Kathy Geisel came to a gathering of about 80 people close to 10 years ago to hear about volunteer opportunities in the Arts.  It was a great night of enthusiasm and in many ways was a shift in volunteerism within the department. Kathy, although having no tech experience, had a heart to just get involved.  It was a mustard seed thing.

Because of her heart to serve, it didn’t take long for her to engage.  She hasn’t stopped or slowed down since. Kathy is a valuable member of the GCC staff, the only difference is she doesn’t get a check. That makes her just like one of thousands who serves on any of the hundreds of ministry offerings here at Granger Community Church.

What has launched her into the realm of Rock Star is her tenacity for taking on new projects, and sticking with them until she owns them. I used to concern myself with her devotion, commitment, time and energy she poured into the ministry.   Then one day she firmly told me, “Kim, this is golf for me.“  Talk about an effective use of a word picture.  I understood for the first time what it meant to be serving with in ones SHAPE.

Kathy has owned a few ministries over the years.  Currently, she leads a gifted team simply called “Words Team”.  This team assures the words to the music appear at the right time on the screen for our guests to see.  Sounds easy right-I challenge you to try it.

In addition to leading the care and connection, scheduling and all the other intricacies of that ministry, Kathy assures that all of the text for our mid week Journey Classes and First Wednesday services are ready for the operators of the classes. She runs the presentation on Wednesdays in the center of the auditorium.  I can’t begin to tell you the patience one must have to deal with the last minute changes there.  She would just liken that to hitting a great shot out of the sand.

For years, this incredible servant of God would prepare all of the Core Class presentations and lead that team of volunteers as well. More bunker shots than you can imagine and it didn’t even slow her down. Try this for patience-scheduling band and vocal members for weekends. Yep, she’s done that too.

I have no clue what devotion like this is now days, you see, I draw a check.  I’ll never stop giving thanks for Rock Stars like Kathy. As Mark Beeson would say-she’s a giant slayer.

Do you ever just drive through the campus here at GCC and wonder how 18 acres  of campus always manages to look so green? Could it be that God looks down on the campus with favor and sends an isolated rain shower at just the appropriate time? Or more realistically you’ve thought it’s just another paid staff member managing the 1,670 sprinkler heads.

I’m about to expose to you a Volunteer Rock Star who ‘s been around our campus since 2000.  He’s not only “been around” but he’s been actively involved in a couple different departments for a decade. For the last seven years, Greg Koczan’s been serving on the Facility Care/Grounds team, managing the miles and miles of sprinkler lines that keep this place “attractional”. Depending on the week, you’ll see him here anywhere from five to twenty hours a week. Isn’t that amazing! What a gift, what a heart.

Have you ever had trouble keeping your three zones working at home? I do…and Greg’s the guy I pay to fix them too. Greg assures that the 100 zones on our campus are leak free and timed with efficiency and regularity.  He “walks the line” every month to assure “all systems are go”. He blows them out in the fall and turns them on in the spring and everything in between.  What a blessing.

Maybe you’re thinking he then travels to Florida for a few months of R&R. Nope-not Greg. He then volunteers on a team that keeps the 11,000 running feet of sidewalk clear from that white stuff.  Not only the sidewalks, he helps the Winter Grounds team to keep the parking lots clear-helping to save the church thousands and thousands of dollars in a year. Now there’s a great ministry opportunity!

If you see this guy, honk at him and wave.  Chances are pretty good he’ll not notice you because of the focus and attention he gives his ministry….but honk and wave anyway!  Thank you Greg for a behind the scenes ministry that attracts people to the campus so they can hear about Christ.  Its drawn more people than you might think. You’re a blessing to your church-a Rock Star serving beyond the call of duty so that others can meet the Christ.