I am just going to apologize in advance. I am going to leave out many people in my list of examples. There are too many for me to name them all.
Pastor Hybels speaks about the people at Willow Creek Church who have decided to pitch in to do work for God. His examples include an airline pilot who has opened his home to high school students on a weekly basis so they can have a comfortable setting for food and fellowship. He also cooks all the food.
They have a married couple at Willow Creek who have taken the minimally landscaped church and designed and planted flower beds which they maintain.
There is a carpenter who coordinates free handyman service for all the single moms in the church.
A woman who suffered through a horrible divorce has started up a divorce recovery ministry so others won’t have to suffer the way she did.
There is a dad who did not have a close relationship with his father and he has become a key organizer in Dad/Son and Dad/Daughter retreats at Willow Creek.
Then there is the businessman who made six figure-a-year income but went bankrupt due to out-of-control credit card spending. He has started a “Good Sense Financial Ministry” to help young married couples avoid the pit he fell in.
These examples are all excellent and they may stimulate ideas about how Christians may do God’s work in the church but let me add a few examples from my church [St. John United Methodist]. I am not able to list all the volunteers and these examples are in no particular order.
We have a wonderful husband and wife team who have been cooking in our kitchen for years. They plan, shop for and prepare our Wonderful Wednesday meals. I have worked closely with them over the years and I know first-hand how much work they do behind the scenes. Too often people show up, pay their five dollars and don’t consider how hard it is to cook for 100 people each week.
We have people who are dedicated to Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Girl Scout work. They value the lessons learned by children in this context and they have organized, coordinated and helped sponsor a growing numbers of children in scouting at our church. This is time-consuming volunteer work.
There have been for many years a group of men called Levites who work to keep our church functioning. From plumbing to fixing a leak in the roof, to mowing the huge yard and cleaning gutters, they have saved our church thousands and thousands of dollars. Their work is done free of charge.
We have a man who very quietly checks on our church members every day. He takes it upon himself to call and visit people when he can. He prays with them. He leads an intercessory prayer team and when you hear his prayers, you realize he is plugged into all the people in our church who have needs.
We have a man who has a gift for landscaping. Our campus is big and it has lots of flowers, shrubs and trees. The job is too big for one person but we have one man who is always at church working away at making the ground looks better. Sometimes he has help but often he is there by himself.
We have a woman who has never been a professional florist; actually she has spent her life as a school teacher and a substitute school teacher. Yet every week she shows up at church with flowers from her garden and roadside flowers. She places the most beautiful and creative flower arrangements all around our church. She makes every Sunday a little prettier.
Our United Methodist Men have builders and they will assist a debilitated church member with an entrance ramp to a home for minimal materials cost. Their labor is free. They have built ramps for people who are permanently homebound and people who are recovering from surgery. It is too hard to move to a new home in the event of a disease or injury. It can assist in the healing process to be in one’s own home. You don’t have to be uncomfortable learning how to operate in a new environment.
I know how it feels to receive this love from my church family. A UMM church member built ramps in my home when I broke my pelvis in October of 2016. I needed him and he came at my time of need.
When Pastor Hybels gives his examples he is trying to encourage people to do what they can to serve others. Maybe some members of my church already understand his message. I suspect that there are churches all over my community with similar examples.
The main idea is to take the non-volunteer, the attender of Sunday worship and get them to see that there is work to do at church; work that they are suited for. It does not matter what the work is; it just needs to be done. Some can do big things and others can do small things. It does not matter as long as the work is being done for the glory of God. As the Nike slogan goes “just do it.”
A much less popular but compelling statement comes from Martin Luther King Jr., a man who accomplished a lot in his life. He wanted everyone involved and he wrote the following words that can inspire us all: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
No matter your skills and abilities, God needs you to do His work.
“Just Do It”