…not the more (in)famous NT Wright, Bishop of Durham and genius New Testament scholar, but Dr Walter Wright, longtime President of Regents College, Vancouver, a major evangelical seminary. His book Relational Leadership: A Biblical Model for Influence and Service (
Why do people volunteer? Why do they choose to spend their time and with a particular organisation? There are many reasons. People volunteer to gain love and acceptance. They volunteer to gain recognition and status, to have power. They may join because an organisation gives them an opportunity to influence decisions that affect them. People volunteer to be important… Jerry is an elevator operator in the
People volunteer to find self fulfilment and growth…
People volunteer to promote the cause they believe in…
They volunteer as much for the social connectedness as for the actual task…
And finally, behind all of these reasons, we hope that people are also investing in our organisations because they want to serve God. They see our organisation our community is one place they can work out their calling before God. I put this reason last because it is the one that frequently sidetracks Christian leaders, especially pastors. I have heard many pastors articulated the belief that I should volunteer to serve God and accept the assignments they have in mind as an expression of my gratitude to God. I wanted to counter this argument by noting that I am grateful to God and I do work for pay and volunteer to serve God. I do believe that all that I do is an outworking of my calling as a minister of Jesus Christ. However I do not believe that necessarily means I should work in your church in that assignment. [154-56]
Wright has more to say about how to treat volunteers well, and in passing points out that organisations (obviously including churches) simply do not need paid leaders.
‘No supervisor,’ says ‘No one cares what I do.’ [168-69]
This is followed up with useful stuff on performance review, good people management practice, and other wise titbits and angles. A great book for long-term mulling.