Like many other churches, we started our ministry year still praying for God to send committed volunteers to serve in our Children’s Ministry. Each week, God has provided for our needs but as the ministry leader, it is my job to ensure that screened, trained, committed, Christ-following volunteers show up to care for and teach the children He brings to us.
A few weeks in to the new ministry year, I personally emailed 31 people who I thought would be a good match for our ministry. (I scoured our church database and looked for people who might be a good fit based on their ability, passion and spiritual gifts.) I shared the vision of the ministry, how God has blessed us with an abundance of children this year and how I felt that God placed them on my heart to invite them to our Children’s Ministry team.
Within a few days, I heard back from 6 people – 3 “no’s – this is not a good season for me”; 1 “let me pray about it” and 2 “I’m interested – I want to learn more.” I was so excited not only about the 3 promising responses but about all 6 responses. This told me two things:
1. People really do read my emails; and
2. They considered, possibly for even a brief moment, my request (even though some declined).
When I shared this news with my CM Leadership Team, one very sweet team member said, “How I appreciate your excitement when the total reply rate was only 19%!” Again, this told me two things:
1. I have some really smart people on my team – I wouldn’t even have thought about calculating any type of percentage; and
2. An excited leader can energize a team member, even when results are less than desired.
When responding back to my treasured friend, I said, “If God sends one, I’m excited!” [We have since recruited 8 new volunteers to our team!]
There is power in one. Celebrating a one-year old’s birthday is often a big deal, but how come we don’t celebrate more “ones“?One example from the Bible come to mind when I think of “one”:
Luke 15:1-7 tells us of the story of the lost sheep. It reads in part:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15:3-7, NLT, bold and italics mine)
This passage of scripture reminded me how important it is for me to be a leader who celebrates the “one“. The one leader who arrives early. The one volunteer who stays late. The one child who is more energetic than the others. The one child with special needs. The one child who savors every word that you say. The one volunteer who serves when life circumstances are difficult. The one volunteer who remembers to ask how you’re doing. The one family who shares a story of how what you do has impacted them. The one volunteer who over-prepares. The one child whose faith story reminds you why you give your life to ministry week after week.
Be the type of person – Mom, Dad, leader, volunteer – who celebrates the one.
Consider leaving me a comment below and tell me how can you celebrate the “one” this week – at home, at work, in ministry!
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