Re: Volunteers Jan/Feb, p. 10.
I love and respect people who volunteer. Their dedication and countless hours is commendable. Their constructive contributions enrich our life experience. Remove them from our lives and watch our civilization flounder.
However, it is necessary to distinguish between volunteerism and ministry.
The service rendered by members of a congregation is ministry, not volunteerism. It is offered as expressions of ministry and spiritual sensitivity in their communities of faith; responding to a sense of calling from God, using in God’s service gifts recognized and affirmed by the congregation.
Such ministry is not simply task-oriented. Ministry, biblically known as diakonia, is a form of serving God in a way that touches other lives with God’s presence. Ministry, as a living expression of a relationship that is founded in God’s image affirmed in the person before us, recognizes that we are serving in God’s hands. Ministry opens and nurtures life in ways that are God-founded to celebrate God’s goodness and action in the lives we share.
This makes a difference in what we do, how we do it, who we are, and how we relate. Therefore, I invite readers to revisit this article and examine carefully the terms that are used. Are we volunteers? Or ministers?