4 Keys To Leading A Volunteer Movement
By Jeff Martin • Fellowship of Christian Athletes • Kansas City, Missouri
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.Acts 4:13 (NIV)
Everyone has a deep desire to make a difference with their lives. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Many people volunteer with organizations in an attempt to satisfy this desire. They get involved only to be relegated or relegate themselves to being spectators. They believe real impact and power are reserved for the elite, gifted leaders, with celebrity-like status, who have been put on a pedestal of influence seemingly unreachable to the ordinary person.
These involved spectators believe they could never be like those celebrities. They are ordinary, yet each volunteer senses that inside of them resides something epic. The truth is that every volunteer is sitting on a powder keg of influence, but they just don’t know how to ignite it.
A recent Forbes online article by Mallory (Blumer) Walsh titled “The Real Problem with Influencer Marketing: You’re Focusing on the Wrong ‘Influencers’” reveals how this truth is being realized in the hyper-competitive world of business marketing, causing a massive strategic shift in long-established tactics: “Only 23% of people believe content from celebrities and influencers is influential. Alternatively, 60% say content from friends or family influences their purchasing decisions.”
The business world understands the rising influence that ordinary people have on the product decisions of their peers, and they are adapting their strategies with lightning speed to seize this opportunity. Can the same be said of the ministry world when it comes to their message of abundant and eternal life through Jesus Christ?
Youth Leaders Only, in its 37th year, helps youthworkers in thousands of churches be aware of the music their students are listening to, use all forms of music in their ministries, and equip their students to make wise choices about the music & media they have in their earbuds 9 hours every day. A membership costs less than the price of a pizza each month!
In a rapidly deteriorating modern culture, ministries are starting to scrutinize their strategies and tactics in a desperate attempt to curb the tide of secularism engulfing everything in its path. In this pivotal moment there has been a gradual awakening of untapped power that can change a culture—the untrained, ordinary volunteer.
There are millions of them, and they sense they are being overrun and overlooked in every aspect of their lives.
What would it look like if volunteers realized the power of the “untrained, ordinary,” collectively owning and celebrating their influence in a great movement of God? Is this what Satan fears most and has hidden best?
I recently heard a pastor put it this way when speaking at a youth leader conference about ordinary students: “Students today have the passion. They are simply waiting for permission to pursue a mission!”
God has always used the ordinary to stun the world. He hasn’t changed. He’s simply waiting for us, His ordinary people, to step into the influence each of us already has and win our world for Christ. This is not mere theory or ancient history. I have had a front-row seat to watch it happen in our time since I started Fields of Faith.