Ed. note: As a church-planter himself, Cody writes in that context. His letter, however, is relevant to volunteers in any churches of any size, age, or organizational style.
Dear Church Plant Volunteer Leader,
Thank you. Thank you for helping plant this church. Thank you for knowing how to serve and being willing to teach others to do so. Thank you for stepping into the crazy world of leading people.
You may notice I called you leader. You may not think of yourself as such, but if you have more than one person on your team looking to you for knowledge, encouragement, understanding, accountability, and about a hundred other things, you are a leader. You are not just a do-er. Now, there is nothing wrong with being a do-er. Most of the people you are leading are and are perfectly content to only be a do-er. You yourself may be more inclined to “doing” rather than leading. But, someone has to lead. And for this church at this time God has chosen you.
This idea of calling is important. As a leader you will be frustrated. You will ask people to serve and they will say “no.” Or they may say “Yes!” and then never actually serve. You will question your ability to cast vision. You will question your organizational ability. You will question your own leadership. You will be overwhelmed. You will emotionally exhausted. You will be frustrated. You will be angry. You will question if you are supposed to be in this role. Only a profound sense of God calling you to serve in the role of leadership will sustain you through these inevitable dark days.
You will also be exceedingly joyful. God will send new people to you. They will be capable. They will resonate with the vision the first time you cast it. But, don’t stop casting it! When you are sick of saying it, they are just getting it! You will be pleasantly surprised. The person you initially thought would not work out will knock it out of the park. You will ask God for help and He will give it. You will be more awed by His love and care for you and your team. You will understand His love for His church better. You will thank Him for allowing you this wonderful privilege.
There may be days you are insecure. You may look around at your team and think, “I am the most under qualified person for this job!” Don’t listen to the voice of accusation. God uses the weak and foolish things of this world to confound the strong and wise. God loves the underdog. He gets more glory from them.
You will make mistakes. Be eager to hear critique, but hear it as loving correction. It may not feel loving at the time, and it may not even be intended as loving, but if you can learn from it, it is a good gift from a loving God for your benefit.
For now, God has called you to this. Leading your team is an act of worship and witness. As an act of worship, you say to God, “Here is my comfort, time, plans and preferences.” As a witness, you say to others, “I believe God is doing something here in this church. I want to be in on it, and I want you to come with me!”
You are not the perfect leader. There is only one Who ever was. But thank you for faithfully pointing others to Him.