I've asked Charlie Bearham to also step in as a guest blogger. Charlie is one of CF Palmetto Bay's Camera Directors in the Media Ministry, and helps with much of Media's Administrative duties. Honestly, CF Media owes much of what it is now to volunteers like Charlie who stepped up into volunteer roles, filling the voids where necessary. Charlie works in management for Jackson Health Systems in Miami, is married to Lydia and has two daughters.
I asked Charlie to share his thoughts on Volunteerism in the Church...
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I need to be honest. At times the line between being a volunteer versus feeling I was on the church staff has been blurry for me. Family, work and personal attitude has suffered; but is that our church's fault? No, its mine and my generations lack of ability to set limits on time commitments.
No one at CF has ever said to me "hey you are not serving enough" or tried to lay a guilt trip on me. But rather each time I have said "I need some time off" it’s been received with "ok we understand."
With that being said, I also believe that there is a difference in volunteering in other kinds of organizations and serving at church. Our mission is greater, our mission is life versus death, and our mission is eternal. So we must take ownership in our church, in our ministry, in our small group and beyond.
It takes both volunteers and church leaders to understand this. When volunteers step up and take ownership, (take the initiative to "lead" versus "being led"), so must the church leadership allow and create opportunities for volunteers to have a voice in setting the direction the ministry will go. Now please don't get me wrong. I fully understand that God has chosen certain men and women to be leaders of the church and we must ultimately follow their direction. But if we are to create a culture of ownership for volunteers, they should be brought into the planning phases, rather than hearing about future initiatives when all is said and done. Buy in comes naturally when the individuals feel a sense of ownership and cannot take the easy way out by blaming someone else for direction the team is going.
So how does this happen when you have different generations serving side by side, Traditionalist (pre-1946), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1964-1979) and the newest Generation Y (1977-2000) known to many as the echo-boomers, boomer babies, millennials, the entitlement generation, or the digital generation. See Work Place Transformation article written by Cara Spiro.
Leadership has changed and decentralized organizations are here to stay, but there will always be leaders. Once we have tossed aside the crutch of hierarchical authority, leaders need to inspire by enabling others to be leaders. By making room for other leaders “you attract people who aren’t followers, who aren’t looking for the kind of leader who will save them from anxiety of responsibility” according to Michael Hopkins. By the way the millennial generation does not follow. By their nature, they need to lead.
At CF, we are looking for people of all generations to take ownership. Opportunities are endless. So the question is will you take ownership of my church, my ministry, my camera, my sound board, etc. or will you stand by the side of the road and regret that you didn't step up and move on to a greater sense of ownership.
Now is the time, there may not be a tomorrow. Please pray about it, and take the challenges that God has for us.
Rescued by his grace,
Servant, Father, and Christian Business Leader.