3 Pitfalls to Avoid as a Church Volunteer

I love watching my daughter play. She is at an age where she is generally carefree in whatever she does. Sometimes watching her play around the house is stressful, because I see a number of potential hazards or pitfalls that she is oblivious to. Whether she is running through the living room with her shoes untied, spinning in circles right next to a shelf or jumping near the edge of the couch – she is having a blast and I am just anxious. I wish she were more aware of the things that could take her out.

Are you aware of the things that could take you out as a volunteer? Do you know there are pitfalls that have the ability to limit your joy, longevity and effectiveness on the team? Our greatest enjoyment and impact on our team is often tied to our dependence on God. Around 12Stone we talk about the idea that being a volunteer puts you on deck for God to do a work in you and through you.

  • God works in you – there is an internal transformation that never could have been accomplished outside of the hand of God
  • God works through you – He takes our limited gifts, talents and abilities and maximizes them for results that never could have been accomplished outside of the favor of God.

God’s involvement in our work is very important. We must be careful to avoid the pitfalls that take us away from our dependence on God. In Luke 4 there is a story about Jesus’ time on earth that highlights 3 big pitfalls we must look out for. These pitfalls are highlighted through the 3 temptations of Jesus in the desert:

Luke 4: 1-4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

Pitfall #1 – Consolation outside of God’s presence. Avoid the dangerous thinking that something temporal can solve a spiritual need. Food, money, relationships, power…these are tools God will use to help make us effective, but they were never intended to be a substitute for our most basic and core need – to experience the presence of God.

Luke 4: 5-8 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

Pitfall #2 – Elevation outside of God’s purpose. God has a plan and purpose for your life – avoid the temptation to seek position, influence or authority outside of what God is giving you. The measure of your significance has nothing to do with your place on an org chart; it has to do with living in tune with God’s unique purpose for your life. (Click to tweet)

Luke 4: 9-12 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Pitfall #3 – Evaluation outside of God’s perspective. Avoid the temptation of using limited perspective to decide whether God’s plan is good. As a participant you only have a limited view of what all is happening. Be aware of our natural pull to try and evaluate God’s plan and decide whether it is good. None of us have the experience, credibility or longevity to understand the scope of what God is doing in our lives. (Click to tweet)

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