Every church knows the value of volunteers.
Volunteers are skilled supportive servants who help improve the structure of the church.
Yet churches that increase in favor and change the future of the city are thinking differently about volunteers. The church of the future will move from recruiting volunteers to releasing trusted rulers. Volunteers meet the needs of the church. Trusted rulers serve/fuel the dreams of the city. Trusted rulers know their identity, understand their spiritual authority and introduce life to the city. According to scripture, every believer is a trusted ruler, called by God to lead the earth into life. This is the original mandate that has never been rescinded (Genesis 2).
Volunteers work for the church. Trusted rulers work for the city.
Trusted rulers embrace their God-given capacity and responsibility for influencing the city toward its God-given destiny. As trusted rulers, we recognize that God wants more for us than simply fulfilling a function in church. We have a role to play in cultural and city formation as we live our ordinary everyday lives.
In the future, expect to see the emergence of trusted rulers led through honor and marked by favor. Prayerfully (and hopefully), pastoral leaders will stop trying to get people to ‘buy into their vision’ and begin releasing people to run with the vision God has given them.
As churches move from recruiting volunteers to releasing trusted rulers …
1. Expect to see less volunteer involvement in projects dreamed up by staff and more involvement of paid staff in everyday activity of believers who are already changing the community one life at a time. In this way, the church will continue to move forward: everyone, everyday, everywhere—leading the city into faith, hope and love in a thousand different small ways.
2. The church will no longer be run as a business. Instead, you might just find her increasingly spending herself building local businesses that supply the destiny of the whole community, likewise in media and other areas of society. Watch as what God incubates in the hearts of trusted rulers resonates with the dreams and needs of the city.
3. Expect to see ordination of film-makers and poets, lawyers and teachers. Expect to see people specifically anointed not only to teach in church but to teach in schools. Expect prayers to be offered not simply for the young person heading to Bible College but for the young person heading to university to study journalism. Expect increased recognition that there is more power in the pews than there is on the platform.
In the future, your church won’t need volunteers. In the future, your church will raise up and release trusted rulers.