The argument forever burns on as to whether or not a church should be run like a business. Regardless of which side you're on, one thing is for certain, the church is primarily a volunteer-oriented organization and that, I hate to say, can lead to a poor volunteer mentality. Let's overcome that.
Today I was thinking about all of the negative mind-sets related to volunteer work in audio ministry.
"He's just a volunteer. He *will* make the band sound like I want."
"I'm a volunteer, I can do what I want; it's my time and energy."
Perhaps you've felt similar feelings either as a volunteer or felt "controlled" by someone in leadership.
For the audio volunteer, there is the Negative Volunteer Mentality:
- I do what I want because they aren't paying me.
- When I don't feel like showing up, someone else can take my place.
- I will mix the way I want.
- I can do as little as I want.
- I can tell musicians what to do.
- I can say "no" to the pastor.
- I get keys to the building.
- I have the position of unchecked authority.
We must not take those views. Instead, we must have the Positive Volunteer Mentality:
- The church leaders trust me; therefore I will do my best.
- I'm not the only one volunteering and therefore I respect the time and energy of my fellow volunteers.
- I will produce the best sound for creating an environment for worship (or the mood the worship leader or pastor wants established).
- The more I do, even coming in mid-week if it calls for it, the more the church body benefits.
- Musicians are also volunteers and we are on the same team. We support each other.
- I'm in the position of saying "no" to audio requests from people in leadership and therefore need to take that position seriously and make those decisions appropriately.
- Keys to the building…to those much is given, much is expected.
- Authority has been given to me. Just because I'm a volunteer, it doesn't mean I'm not under church authority myself.
Church leadership can also have a positive or negative volunteer mentality. How they treat volunteers can be the basis for the success of a ministry within the church.
The church leaders can have this Negative Volunteer Mentality:
- He/she is a volunteer and should be happy we are "letting them" run sound.
- They can pay for their own training if they are really interested in what they do.
- They have no authority.
- They don't get keys to the church.
- We can tell them what to do.
- They can pay for stuff [cd's, tapes, batteries, etc] out of their own pocket. That's part of that ministry.
- They use the equipment we have – it's been working for years.
The beautiful Positive Volunteer Mentality:
- They are volunteering their time and energy and therefore we should treat those gifts with the utmost respect.
- We can't afford to pay them but we should use God's money to properly train them.
- They are allotted a position of authority because of their God-given talents and skills which they can use to work with other people to create the best audio experience possible.
- They should have access to the church at all times because their work isn't limited to the day of the church service.
- If we treat them like puppets, we deny them the ability to use their God-given talents.
- A budget is important for all church ministries and the audio ministry is no exception.
- Technology is constantly producing better audio equipment and therefore the audio ministry should be allowed to upgrade/add-on equipment when it would benefit the quality of sound / the worship experience.
As an aside, I was thinking about this topic today after reading the liner notes of an older Moby CD. Moby included this quote from St. Francis of Assisi;
"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men."
Being a volunteer, it's easy to think only about myself and how others treat me. The more "I-focused" I become, the less I see how I impact others. The more "I-focused" I become, the less I am concerned with compassion and pity. Regardless of how others treat me, if I cannot properly shoulder the responsibilities God has given me, then maybe I need to remember what it means to follow Christ.
I'm fortunate in that my pastor as well as the worship teams support me. But if one day that were to change, I need to be assured that my attitude would not.