I’m Just A Volunteer, Don’t Get On My Case

Yesterday I met somebody who is a new believer and has started serving at our church. He told me a story that, at first, angered me, then challenged me about my role as a volunteer.

He plays in one of the bands at a satellite campus for one of our ministries during the week (purposefully vague here). He stepped off the stage during a rehearsal to listen to the sound coming through the speakers. As soon as he did this, a booming voice came through the speakers from the sound board, “Remember we’re just volunteers back here at the sound board. Don’t get on our case about the sound.”

The musician hadn’t even said anything. He just stepped off the stage to listen. The band leader advised this new believer to go apologize to the guy at the sound board. Apparently, two years earlier, when the band leader stepped off the stage to listen, he didn’t apologize and the sound guy turned it into a much bigger ordeal than it needed to be.

Because of the caustic nature of the sound guy, he’s not getting better at running sound and the quality of the music the attendees hear is suffering for it, even though the band is great. It’s crazy to think about how a person would be so defensive and unwilling to even be open to suggestions. Even more absurd is the idea that he would be able to get away with that for two years or more. We’re going to have horrible sound in our ministry because nobody can upset the sound guy. That kind of thing dumbfounds me.

I woke up this morning thinking about this story and how it relates to my own volunteer work as a youth leader. Here are some questions I’m pondering. I thought I’d share them with you because all youth workers would do well to think through them:

– Am I approachable and willing to be instructed?
– Am I secure enough to be not be destroyed if somebody offers a suggestion about what I do?
– Have I become a better leader over time or am I happy with the way I’ve always been as a leader?
– What have I done to improve?
– Do I talk about youth ministry with other youth leaders and parents? Do I share what I’ve learned and learn from them in return?

I want to be an asset to my youth ministry team, not the guy people have to treat gently lest I blow up at them for making a suggestion.

I don’t know the volunteer running that sound board, but he will be getting some training soon because I am connected with people who handle sound and lighting for the church. As a good leader, I wouldn’t let that go unaddressed now that I know out about it. It’s very important that our kingdoms fall and we’re open to suggestions which make our church more effective. By sharing this with the ones who need to know, our sound will be better for that ministry and a volunteer will become a more approachable, well-trained servant… like I want to be.

Are you willing to address issues or will you avoid them until they resolve themselves while the ministry suffers for it? They won’t likely resolve themselves. We need to discretely, strategically, and with a right heart, deal with issues in our church… and work hard not to be the guy (or gal) people are afraid to approach when we need help.