The biggest lie in ministry...

The words we use are full of connotations.

Would you rather buy a “pre-owned” car 
or a “used” car? See what I mean? It’s the same car, but, depending on which words are used, the connotation is different.

While I love the concept of someone freely giving their time and talents to serve without pay, the term “volunteer,” when used in ministry, often seems to carry a connotation of “second best” or “not really that important.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a wonderful, committed, effective non-paid servant in a ministry refer to him or herself as “just a volunteer.” For whatever reason, non-paid workers in the church have subconsciously picked up on the very unbiblical connotation that they are “ just volunteers.”

This should bother us because it's a big, fat lie.


I contend that the Bible clearly teaches that every Christian is a full-time minister. (Do your own study on the "priesthood of the believer" or keep reading for more info below.) Therefore, I don’t like the term “volunteer” when used in a ministry context.

I think we need a new term for volunteers—one that doesn’t contain the second-class baggage.

When speaking of someone who generously gives time to serve Jesus but doesn't get paid for it, I propose we start using a term like "disciplemaker" or "disciplemaking friend" or  _____ (fill in your idea here). If enough of us get on board with terminology like this, we might be able to exchange the word “volunteer” along with its less desirable connotations for a much more biblically accurate and dignifying term.

Who knows what could happen?

People who graciously serve in ministry without compensation might quit acting like "just volunteers" and might start acting like, well, "disciplemakers" and "disciplemaking friends." The potential ramifications for mobilizing the latent volunteer power sitting (literally) in our churches could be revolutionary.

Once we’ve replaced the term "volunteer" with something like “disciplemaker” or "disciplemaking friend," we can move on to changing the term “committees” to “teams” or perhaps to my personal favorite, “cadres.” However, for now, let’s take one revolution at a time. Way too many great people of God see themselves as “just volunteers.”

I contend it's the biggest lie in ministry.

The revolution begins here. Starting with YOU. And YOU spreading it to others right where you are right now.


Dream with me for a moment:
What might happen in your church and ministry if all volunteers understood that they are disciplemakers?

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Here's how YOU can do it.

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