Like most churches, ours has a large team of volunteers. We have members who have volunteered to work in the nursery, to clean our building, to keep the grounds mowed, to operate the sound system, to make our tape recordings, to answer incoming phone calls, to teach our classes, to serve as Deacons, Elders and Trustees, to mention but a few. Without these “volunteers” our church could not carry out her ministry.
Yet, when we look into the Word of God, it never speaks of volunteers. It speaks of those who freely serve and who recognize they have a joyful obligation to serve others in whatever manner they are capable (or gifted). In the New Testament the four basic passages dealing with the believers’ use of their gifts are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. In these passages we learn that Christ has sovereignly distributed His gifts to His church through her various members and that they are responsible to use these gifts (interests, talents, training, resources, opportunities) to faithfully serve others.
Nowhere in Scripture do we have the slightest hint that God’s people are to volunteer. Rather, the Scriptures indicate that the use of our gifts should be considered a joyful responsibility.