3 Ways People Begin Serving

I have a couple of core convictions that drive my thinking and practices in ministry.

  • You can not become like Jesus without learning to serve
  • Spiritual maturity is not found in what you know, but what you do
  • We are most like Jesus when we are giving ourselves away

These convictions affect everything in my life. Yes it obviously translates into my church, however it also speaks into the way I engage with my wife as well as the way I parent. Much of what I think and do comes from an understanding of these convictions. It is one of the many reasons why I am so passionate about helping people get involved in meaningful service.

In my time at 12Stone I have been able to use 3 different methods for helping people engage in meaningful volunteer work. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks. Depending on the culture of your team or your church any one of these could be a great method to lean into:

  1. SHAPE (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experiences) – While many have employed this sort of thinking, the language for SHAPE comes from Rick Warren and Saddleback Church. The idea is to assess as much as possible on the front end so you can help the potential volunteer find their ideal spot to serve.
  • Benefit: People gain insight and they begin serving in a role that fits them
  • Drawback: The process for assessing people takes time and people can drop out before they have actually gotten connected.
  1. Cannon Ball Just like swimming, the idea is to just jump! In the pool doing a cannon ball helps you acclimate to the temperature in the pool really quickly. The same could be said of this approach for serving.
  • Benefit – People begin serving as quickly as possible and begin building relationships on a team
  • Drawback – This approach is like a blind date, you do not know if it will be a great fit or an awkward story you tell later in life
  1. One-time opportunities (First Serve, XMAS initiative) – In any organization there are opportunities for “one-off” sort of volunteer spots that give people a set one-time commitment for serving.
  • Benefit – The presents a bite-sized experience for people to try out serving, the low commitment offers them a chance to test the waters.
  • Drawback – One time opportunities can give people the “feel good” emotion that actually keeps them from committing to a regular team. It can create a paradigm in their mind that serving once a year is the ideal for their life.

Which approach do you tend to lean into? What do you find works best for your team and your organization?


One thought on “3 Ways People Begin Serving

  1. Perhaps they begin out of conviction to do so from reading scripture, (1 Peter 4:10) but need guidance on just where, which it looks like your ways highlight. Once a fit is found, be good at it (Proverbs 22:29).


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