In ministry, I want to make sure that my personal powers of persuasion are not leveraged as manipulation. People need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not my voice. I don’t want to convince someone, in a pressured situation, that they should be volunteering—that’s not my job.
I understand—we all need volunteers. However, you don’t want the wrong volunteers. You don’t want someone to respond to your persuasion rather than the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve overtly encouraged people to pray about their decision—if they don’t feel God leading them to serve, then I tell them, “By all means, please say no.” It would be a train wreck for them—and for you! —if they agreed to volunteer but didn’t feel that God was truly calling them.
Don’t forget: you hold some form of authority in the life of your church. Be cautious. Don’t seek to leverage that authority in an inappropriate way. You are not the junior Holy Spirit. As leaders, we can allocate our gifts and abilities in such a way that compels people to act in certain ways—depending on how we use this power, it can be very dangerous.
People need to be compelled to volunteer by Lord Almighty. How much more powerful will they be if God, not you, has called them? I don’t want to be a manipulative leader. I want to be a leader who leads people to see, hear, and respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Would you rather have people say “no” to you honestly, or feel guilt, pressure, and persuasion to say “yes” insincerely? Please, do everyone a favor—give them the freedom to say no.
Josh Denhart is a children's ministry curriculum writer and children's ministry performer. Josh is a seasoned educator with BA in Chemistry Education, a MA in Effective Instruction, and earned National Board Certification in Young Adult and Adolescent Science. As a former High School chemistry teacher, Josh melded his love for Science and Christ, creating “The Amazing Chemistry Show”, a traveling gospel-centered stage show with fire, explosions and foam. Carrying this Ministry of Chemistry even further, Josh created “Science VBS”, an internationally celebrated Vacation Bible School curriculum.
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