“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” – 1 Timothy 6:18
Like many churches, Northstar is dealing with the now, with today, while at the same time learning from yesterday, while preparing for tomorrow. We want to plan for a future where we help the whole world find and follow Jesus.I believe we have the potential to do great things
Preparing of the future requires change, some rapid development and finding ways to better focus our resources on those areas that will direct our mission and vision in the most practical and positive ways. To that end, we are looking to make a paradigm shift at Northstar. Basically, we want to expand the role of volunteers in filling our ministry pipeline.
We want to create a culture in which new volunteers are identified and equipped, existing volunteers are continually trained and engaged, and ministry is expanded and improved without hiring additional staff members. We believe volunteerism and discipleship will work together to produce a healthy ministry that functions for the benefit of the church and to God’s glory.
I hope you caught the fact that we are looking to limit the addition of new staff members, preferring to handle our ongoing growth through volunteer resources. We believe this will do two main things for us: (1) We will spend a smaller percentage of our budget on staffing costs, so we will be leaner. (2) As a leaner church, we can invest a noticeably higher percentage of our budget beyond the walls of our church. Think of all Northstar could do if we do not compartmentalize, limit and isolate ourselves due to a lack of resources.
This is not that dramatic of a transition. We are already heavily dependent on volunteers. Without volunteers, we do not exist. It is that simple. Every Sunday, at each one of our campuses, there are dozens of people who contribute in a variety of ways to make our Sunday experience what it is. The worship team practices, the tech team prepares equipment, the setup team sets up, the Kids team prepares exciting and creative lessons, and tons more volunteers are taking the time and effort to create some pretty compelling environments for others to enjoy.
Which brings me to the heart of Northstar. We don’t distinguish ministry work and responsibility based on whether a person receives a salary from the church. Yes, the leadership team calls the shots, closely controls and monitors all the work of the church, and leads most of the initiatives. But Northstar volunteers make an equally significant contribution to the church. Contributing to the ministry – and being a disciple – is not the exclusive domain of a select few people who happen to be the paid staff. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” We are fortunate to have hundreds of volunteers with a heart to serve and focus on the meaning and the outcome, not the activity.
Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
In this verse you have the “why” of moving to a more volunteer oriented church. It isn’t about attracting more volunteers; it’s about empowering God’s people to do the work of ministry. It’s about looking for opportunities to make others better by equipping and training them and then sharing leadership responsibilities. I firmly believe that when a church catches the vision for empowering and equipping people for ministry, the outcome will be significant.
Andy Stanley often talks about what he wants for people, not just what he wants from them. We live in a time when people believe churches think in terms of what they can get from people – money, time, growth etc. I believe Andy is right. The churches that will make an impact in the future will be passionate about what they want for people – financial balance, generosity, the joy of serving, better families, and of course, Christ at the center of everyone’s life.
What we want for everyone that attends Northstar is to help them become the person that God made them to be. We want everyone to discover the joy of making an impact in other people’s lives. Getting involved is an important part of that journey. This again is at the heart of Northstar.
Let me state again that this will not happen tomorrow. We are working our way through how this will unfold and what it will ultimately look like. I will keep you in the loop as developments warrant additional communication. In the interim, I encourage you to consider serving. We may not necessarily understand the power of serving, but I believe if you step out of your comfort zone and serve—rather than just go to church to receive—it will be one of the best experiences in your life.