Get in the Game! Volunteer Anxiety Disorder

By Craig Wilson

I thought God and I had a deal that I would never have to go to a hospital to have any form of surgery. I have a very real fear of being put under anesthesia, cut open, and stitched back up like a teddy bear that’s losing its stuffing. I don’t like the idea of an IV needle in my arm, and had never had to have one.

Apparently God was not aware of this deal, because there I was, just two days after my 43rd birthday, lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm about to have umbilical hernia surgery.

I found myself thinking about every little detail. I had plenty of time to think because my surgeon was three hours late because of complications with another surgery. I hope those complications aren’t because of his inadequacy as a surgeon, I fretted.

The thinking wasn’t good for me. I worried that a medical instrument might have bacteria and cause an infection. I worried the surgeon or nurse might leave a medical instrument inside me. I worried the anesthesiologist might be a little edgy from having to wait three hours with me. I worried that my surgeon and assisting nurse might not be rested from the last surgery.

Just before being given the loopy liquid to calm me down and knock me out, I was gently reminded of Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In that moment I changed from worrying to praying. I covered every detail of the surgery in prayer.

Do you know what I am most anxious about right now in our children’s ministry? WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS! We have tried many approaches to recruiting, but I have failed to do the one thing Philippians 4:6 encourages: pray.

Matthew 9:36-38 says, “When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest fields.’”

Just as I moved from worrying to praying about every detail of my surgery, I need to pray specifically for the volunteer needs in our children’s ministry. We need more men to be a part of our team. We need more volunteers willing to serve each and every week instead of on rotating schedules. We need more diversity in gifts and passions in our team.

There will always be creative new methods to try to recruit volunteers, and we will continue to use them, but we should not overlook the power of praying to the Lord of the harvest.

Craig Wilson serves as children’s pastor with LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado. 

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