Showing appreciation in the ministry

volunteersLast night at our church, we celebrated the volunteer teachers in the children’s department. I had the privilege of speaking during this dinner and all throughout the week I prayed about what to share. God brought me to Romans 16 where Paul appreciates all of the people who served with him in the ministry. Paul mentions people by name to show his appreciation. What really stuck out to me was the fact that Paul commented on how they served. He did not just “appreciate” them for offering their time. He writes about how they served. Let’s take a look at how these people served. Take a look at Romans 16:1-16.

  1. They served in the church and outside of the church.
  2. They are described as helpers of many others.
  3. They are described as fellow workers in the Gospel.
  4. They risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel.
  5. They opened their homes up as house churches.
  6. They are described as hard workers.
  7. Some of them ended up in prison for the Gospel.
  8. They are approved in Christ. They have proven themselves in serving the church and nonbelievers.

So, based on this list, he is not just praising them for volunteering, he is praising them and appreciating them for how they served. God is not just interested in WHAT we do, He is interested in HOW and WHY we do it. In fact, according to I Corinthians 3:9-10, Paul explains that “serving” or “volunteering” is a gift from the Lord. The fact that God allows us to work together and with Him in the ministry is by grace. We do not deserve to be able to serve. We do not deserve to be able to volunteer. It is by God’s grace that we get to work with Him and with others in the ministry.

Many times in the ministry, we view volunteering as a good deed that I am doing for the church. Instead, our mindset should be, “wow, I get to volunteer in the ministry by the grace of God”. How do you view volunteering and volunteers? Do you share Paul’s view, or the common view of the day? I am so thankful for volunteers and I am glad that I am able to offer them the grace of God by giving them the privilege of serving the Lord. I pray that all of my volunteers, as well as myself, that we would all serve and volunteer the way Paul’s volunteers served in Romans 16. May the Lord bless us to serve in a way that pleases Him.

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