I think we all learned something new this week, that at the Olympic swimming & diving events there is a lifeguard on duty. And the viral picture shows just how exciting that job has to be. It's a job that will probably never require you to do anything except blow a whistle to tell Michael Phelps to stop running to the gold medal platform. But seriously, I feel bad for them. Their job is being ridiculed, mocked, and put on the Internet as a joke. Whether we want to admit it, we need Olympic pool lifeguards. We need them to be ready and poolside in case a swimmer cramps and is unable to get out of the pool themselves. What kind of tragic headline would it be if a swimmer or diver drowned?
As a pastor I see dozens of volunteers serving in a lot of different roles. Some of them are visible and public, and others are never seen. Even though the roles might look different, their importance is the same, regardless of exposure. Why? Because every single one of those roles helps the church flourish, and lets us execute Sunday services without a hitch. My favorite unseen volunteer I've met so far is the Coffee Guy, who makes sure there is coffee set up in our fellowship hall for members and guests. Without him, we'd have some very grumpy and sleepy people!
1 Corinthians 12 is a great reminder that every part is in the Body, and there is no unimportant part in the Body. So whether you're a paid staff member, the small group leader, the guy who sets up chairs, or the lifeguard in the Olympic pool, your role in the Body is important. It's important because:
1) God has called you to it - All of us have been given a calling, an identity, and a purpose within the Church. So whatever you do, you're doing it because God wants you there.
2) You are serving faithfully - I am fully convinced that God is more concerned with our faithfulness than the prestige of our role. If we're faithful to serving and doing whatever He has called us to, then He has a pattern of rewarding that faithfulness. For leaders, we know that people who are faithful in small things can be trusted with bigger things.
3) The Church needs you - You might not feel like the role you serve in the church isn't that special, or you might feel as useful as an Olympic lifeguard. Let me encourage you that you are doing something incredible in the Kingdom, and you are setting up the church for worship, mission, and fellowship. When you take on the responsibility of working the nursery, you're not less important. You're providing a blessing to families. When you set up chairs, you're letting lost people hear the Gospel. When you're making the coffee, you're helping community happen. And when you're feeling like no one is watching, God is.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.