“Times have changed. People are not interested in serving in the church.” This was the statement of a frustrated and overworked pastor. He was right and wrong at the same time. Today is different than fifty years ago. I disagree, however, that people are less interested.
Churches that refuse to adapt to changing trends in volunteerism fail to provide a necessary ministry. According to Gary McIntosh and Glen Martin, “As a basic rule of thumb, growing churches will have a minimum of sixty percent of their church members involved in an identifiable ministry role.” (Finding Them, Keeping Them, 90) Therefore, ministry involvement is not only essential for individual discipleship, but for the overall health of the church. Win Arn suggests a plumb line for measurement. “… the typical church that is declining has approximately twenty-seven tasks/roles per one hundred adults in the church.” Arn also suggested that churches that have plateaued offer an average of forty-three and a growing church an average of sixty ministry tasks or roles per one hundred adults. He further defines these tasks not as “busy work” but as “Kingdom work” that touches people with the love and care of Christ.
Creating opportunities for ministry that fulfill the mission of the church is critical. It is the responsibility of church leaders to guide and equip members for service. Yet, church leaders must also be developers of opportunity.
The goal of this series is to explore and evaluate six trends (as identified by Jonathan McKee, Thomas McKee, and Marlene Wilson). These include: a changing family dynamic, expanding work life, a shift from community to individualism, the internet and technology, a motivational shift, and “competition” with other organizations. Understanding these trends will enable church leaders to recruit and train volunteers with more effectiveness. People are still volunteering, just in a different way. Since these trends do not necessarily suggest a theological or moral compromise, we are better off changing our methods instead of attempting to change the trends.
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