Once upon a time, there were two lighting volunteers called Bill and Ben. They were both very loyal and dependable. The showed up when you would ask them and would do their work with a great attitude.
Bill and Ben are really different. I am grateful for both of them, with their unique skill sets and willingness to serve.
Bill has been serving at our traditional service at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a number of years. He has been there for longer than I have been employed by the church … quite possibly longer than I have been alive.
Bill misses a Sunday here and there every year, but not enough to count! He is also happy to come to rehearsals. He’s beyond reliable, consistent, faithful, and always great fun. Unless it’s college football season and OU lost the day before, in which case he will be a little grumpy.
Even after all the years he has volunteered, though, Bill doesn’t know how to program the lights, make changes on the fly or even turn the system on. He likes to run the lights in community, serving alongside other people. We sit together as I call the changes, and he will press the button or move the fader.
He can do it by himself, if I’m called away or I need to take a Sunday off. He is just fine by himself. He just prefers to serve alongside someone else when serving in that role.
Then there is Ben. He is a volunteer who only sits behind the light board a few times a year. His work makes it difficult for him to be volunteering in that role for the church on a more regular basis. But if I get hit by a bus, and our church needs someone to save the day … it will be Ben. He can work out even the most complicated details of our system.
Bill and Ben are really different. I am grateful for both of them, with their unique skill sets and willingness to serve. I don’t expect them to be the same, and I don’t ask the same of them.
Volunteers, though, don’t come perfectly wrapped, ready to play, out of the box. There is “some assembly required.”
A willing heart is really all you need to start a journey that may last for many years.
Each person who volunteers, is the “hero” of their own story. They have their own unique set of reasons and needs as a volunteer. They offer their service for service in return. They meet a need, and they likely have a need. That’s not the same for any two volunteers.
Over the next two years, we have a plan to triple the number of volunteers we have at Asbury. I know the way we do things now will have to change with such changes anticipated on the horizon.
It would be amazing if there was one thing we had to do to get all the volunteers we need, to run a service on a Sunday morning.
Unfortunately, that is not how it works.
We meet each one where they are at and lead them at their own pace on their own journey.