A while back, I made myself a promise. I resolved that I would no longer refer to myself as “just a volunteer” when people asked me what my role was in Children’s Ministry.
You see, when people ask me what I do, I don’t say “I’m an accountant.” First of all, that sounds really boring. Even as I write this, I struggle to keep my eyes open. Secondly, whenever I do tell people that they ask for help with their taxes. I don’t like taxes. I don’t do taxes. I usually struggle to get my own taxes done on time.
So, when people ask me what I do, I tell them, “I work with children.” If they ask how or what it is I do with children, that opens the door for me to talk to them about my passion for children’s ministry. But, the truth of the matter is, I am a volunteer. I am not a full-time Children’s Pastor or Children’s Ministry Director. That is not what God has called me to do. He has call me to volunteer to work with kids my church’s children’s ministry. I work in ministering to children of divorce, I teach a large group of kids, I lead a small groups, I run games, I work in VBS, and I do whatever else I can to help.
For a long time, this didn’t “seem like enough” to me. When I decided to start blogging, I naturally started writing about the things that I liked to talk about. Those were God, my family and children’s ministry. Then something funny and quite unexpected happened. People started to respond. People started to ask me questions about children’s ministry – can you imagine? I started to have conversations with people about children’s ministry. People started to send me children’s ministry products to review for the blog. I enjoyed, and still enjoy, every moment of it. There was, however, a part of me that felt a little bit like an imposter. Who was I to talk about children’s ministry? My experiences paled in comparison to the people I was talking to, collaborating with, and learning from who oversee what seems like an entire empire of children’s ministries. What could I offer to these people? What could I possibly have to say that would help, inspire or guide those who do so much more than me when in comes to children’s ministry? After all, I was “just a volunteer.”
Then, in a moment of clarity that could only have come from God, I realized/remembered something. The way we are, and what we do, is no mistake. God made us exactly the way he wants us, and he put us exactly where we are supposed to be. When I started writing and blogging, I did not do it to influence other people. I did it to record my thoughts. God prompted me to put myself out there. I didn’t know why at the time, but figured being obedient to God is a good thing and maybe there was an outside chance that out of 7 billion people on this planet that someone might find what I was writing to be useful. My job was to put it out there and let God use it however He sees fit. Whether I am a volunteer or a guru does not matter to God.
So, I am a volunteer, but I am not JUST a volunteer. God has graced me with a love for his children and a passion to share his love with them. He has blessed me with an all consuming desire to see kids enter into his kingdom and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He has tasked me with the responsibility and joy of helping kids to develop a biblical worldview. That is nothing to feel inadequate about. It is an awesome opportunity and responsibility to be a part of God’s plan, and I am where God has put me. I am working for my Heavenly Father who gives me every good thing. I am a servant of God, and that makes me a whole lot more than “just a volunteer.”
UPDATE: This post was originally written in November of 2013. Over the last eight years, God has led me on a journey that has taken me out of day-to-day children’s ministry and into ministering to hurting kids who have faced all sorts of difficulties in their lives. While the volunteer work I am doing looks different these days, the principle remains the same. So, no matter what you are doing for God’s kids, remember that is you are following God’s lead in your life, you will never be “just a volunteer.”