4 problems church volunteers struggle with


One of the biggest misconceptions that many churches have about the ministry is that only full-time, vocational ministers are called by God into ministry. In fact, there is a very strong emphasis on volunteer and lay leaders that helps strengthen and conduct church affairs.

Many people that God used in the Bible were not vocational pastors or ministers. David was a politician, Joshua was a soldier, Paul was a tentmaker, Aquila and Priscilla were traders, and so on. God calls people to often work on a volunteer basis to strengthen His work here on earth.

Churches know the value of ministry volunteers -- people who work as Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, elders, technical staff and campus workers on a voluntary basis. Of course, these callings do not come without their own share of struggles.

Here are some common struggles that church volunteers face.

Erratic schedules

Considering that volunteers make a living out of full-time jobs that don't concern direct church ministry, their schedules can sometimes be filled up to an overwhelming level. The times they could be using to rest and refresh become time used for practices, preparations and application.

This is why it remains important that ministry not just be a "job" but a delight as well. Luke 15:7 tells us that "...there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." This heavenly rejoicing should also result in earthly rejoicing.

Unnecessary pressure

When we do God's work, either vocationally or voluntarily, understand that there is an enemy that doesn't want you to do either so he works double-time to discourage you by giving you unnecessary pressure through lies, unforeseen occurrences and external trials and challenges.

John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." The key is understanding that Jesus is the source of life and enjoyment for ministry, not ministry itself.

Faulty relationships

Ministry is messy in that it involves human interaction. Anyone who experiences a relationship (and that's everyone) will know how messy they can be. Ministry is not exempt from this in that hurt and imperfect people deal with hurt and imperfect people.

This can often be a form of discouragement, especially if offense comes from a co-volunteer, but be assured that this is common and that God can overcome even hurt by releasing the ability to forgive through Christ Jesus's sacrifice.

False expectations

The false expectations from others or from ourselves that we should be perfect before we serve can be a great challenge as well. We battle these by remembering that it is only because Jesus has already qualified us that we can work hard in ministry and then come back to Him to rest our souls.

Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."