Deuteronomy 6:18 – And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord:
As a child, my family always went to church and I had little or no choice in the matter until I was an older teenager. I was constantly exposed to the formal preaching and teaching that one would expect and was involved in most of the church programs suitable for my age group. I was a rambunctious kid and loved to be the center of attention … somewhat of a comedian. My personality often got me in trouble with those in charge but early on it was evident that I had some leadership qualities as others followed my lead whether right or wrong. Fortunately, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior when I was twelve years old. The occasion was a special revival service held on a Sunday morning that replaced the normal Sunday School hour. A “youth” evangelist presented the Gospel in a manner easy for young people to understand and I went forward at the invitation time and gave my heart to Jesus.
I am now what would be classified as a “senior citizen” and a long-time church member and follower of Jesus Christ. At my age, I am supposed to be wise in most things that matter, but I must admit that often I find myself lacking wisdom on key aspects of the Christian life experience. I have made many right and wrong choices over my lifetime. Fortunately, none have resulted in the dire circumstances or life calamities experienced by so many. On the contrary, I have lived a somewhat worry free life with a successful marriage, a wonderful family, a successful business career and the satisfaction that God has me where He wants me to be. After years of voluntarily leading Sunday School classes, participating in church music programs, serving as a Deacon, leading efforts to raise funds for capital projects, serving on countless church committees and teams, working on civic and community projects, and finally serving as a volunteer trustee of a Christian University, I have netted down my approach to life to two key principles based on God’s Word:
I now make it my every day personal mission to tell others about these principles and how they have positively affected my life and can potentially change theirs. Of course, the most important thing one must first do is accept the Lord as their personal Savior or the principles have little or no chance of working. With this in mind I give the following advice to those who are either currently volunteering or considering volunteering for Christian service through your local church. I will limit my comments to a couple of specific areas of administrative service though I believe that the principles are applicable to just about anything we face.
One of my spiritual gifts is that of Administration. To clarify a bit, in my case this includes working cooperatively as a lay member with the church staff to develop and interpret policies, procedures and guidelines. As such I have often served on the Personnel Committee and numerous Staff Search Committees. My job on these committees differs from the equivalent in the business world where turning a profit is the primary motivator. While the corporate church is indeed a business, it must operate differently based on God’s rules and not man’s. This involves a level of accountability and compassion not always present in the business world. There is no place in the church for dishonesty, sexual impurity, lack of integrity, lying, greed, favoritism, lip service, laziness, lack of planning, lack of follow through, lack of compassion, and lack of fiscal responsibility. The list goes on and on. Basically, you can refer to the two principles above … “Do what is right” and “Do what you say”. This is not what man thinks is right, but what is right according to God’s Word – the Bible! Doing what you say depends on the first principle as well. What you say should also be consistent with God’s Word.
Let me recount two experiences that demonstrate how these principles have supported my church related volunteering efforts.
A Pastor Search Committee Faces Seemingly Insurmountable Odds
Our church was in the process of calling a new pastor. I was serving as chairman of the Pastor Search Committee. Our needs as a church were many as the “glory” days had passed when everything was relatively easy compared to our current situation. Community demographics had changed and many of our local sister churches had moved to the growing suburbs. Our church determined that God wanted our church to stay put and continue to serve the Lord by ministering to the community that surrounded us.
Our financial condition in particular had declined and it appeared that we would not be able to afford to continue ministry at the level we had been able to do for so many years. The Search Committee spent months in diligent prayer pouring over countless resumes. Ultimately, we agreed that God had led us to His choice, a recommendation from a trusted former interim Pastor who knew the heart and work of our church. The candidate seemed to have successfully faced tough situations similar to ours and on paper met all our requirements. However, there were major obstacles. The potential pastor was currently located over four thousand miles from our state, owned a home there, and was in the final stages of a church building project. After fervent prayer, God led our committee to put these concerns aside and trust that He would provide the needed resources if it was within His will for this man to be our next Pastor.
Over the next few months we mutually worked out ways to visit over the phone, then in person, and finally to hear him preach in person. To a person, each member of the committee felt clearly it was God’s will to present the candidate to the church as our next potential Pastor. How could we argue with God? He said He would provide for all our needs in accordance with His will. When the candidate visited with the congregation over a weekend and preached his “trial” sermon, the church voted unanimously to issue a call for him to become our next Pastor. We still faced the major financial challenge of moving him to our community. Knowing that it was God’s will and the right thing to do, we proceeded to make plans for our “new” pastor to move to our community. Almost miraculously, the whole church pulled together with each doing their part and rather easily raised the needed funds to cover all the unusual travel, moving and transition expenses. The timing for his move to our area was no longer a problem either as his church building project was rapidly concluding. His house also sold in record time and he quickly found a house in our area. Soon our new Pastor joined us and the ministry prospered under his leadership. You see, once we put our fears aside, agreed to let God handle them, and focused on doing what was right according to His Word, everything worked out beautifully.
Capital Fund Raising Project
By trade, I was a business man who had a lot of successful experience in managing large numbers of people and overseeing the development of extensive capital projects. Our church required a substantial fund-raising project to cover needed expansion and renovation plans. The funds needed were major for a church our size. I was asked to serve as chairman of the capital fund-raising committee. Our community was declining and it would be difficult to raise funds in such an unfavorable environment. Previously I had served on two other similar committees, once as a member when we had outside consulting help to lead the process, and another time as chairman for an internally led project to fund some rather modest building improvements. To be completely honest, I must admit that I did not enjoy either of the previous situations. While the goals were ultimately reached, in each case I was uncomfortable with the fund-raising process feeling that it unnecessarily alienated some of our members.
The church had engaged outside professional help to survey our needs and develop a master plan. The future vision and a phased approach for long-term development were in place. As a fund-raising committee, all we needed to do was to determine how the near-term projects would be financed. After accepting the leadership role for the new effort, we formed a team to begin planning for how we would conduct the fund-raising. The team spent hours in prayer together with our Pastor seeking God’s direction. Ultimately, we decided to handle the fund-raising project totally within the church using no outside help. We believed this would save us money and would be better accepted by the congregation. This would be the largest capital fund-raising effort the church had ever conducted. We settled on a theme for the project, “Hand in Hand”. The idea was that we would partner with God and each other to obtain the pledges that would fund the major planned renovation projects. The plans included the conversion of our aging gym to a modern education and dining facility, the complete renovation of the inside of our rather modest sanctuary, the erection of a covered walkway to connect our multiple buildings, and the addition of an appropriate steeple.
In my heart, I was convinced that what we were planning was in accordance with God’s Word and His will. I believed wholeheartedly that we were doing what was right and that God would honor the process. Indeed, that was the case. Commitments for the needed funds were obtained and the construction was completed as planned. The modernized facilities have served us well for almost twenty years … and they are paid for. You see, we not only did what was right, but we did what we said.
No matter what your volunteer effort might be, you should put your personal goals and desires aside and get on board with God. As you go about your volunteer work, keep in mind that what you are doing is for the glory of God and not “self” glory. Place your faith in God. He will give you strength to do what is right and do what you say. These two principles are fundamental to successful faith based volunteering. In my experience God has blessed this approach every time I have seen it deployed.
Scriptures Related to Doing the Right Thing
Here are some selected scriptures that relate to this article. All references are from the KJV version of the Bible.
Deuteronomy 6:18 – And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.
Philippians 4:8-9 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Psalm 1:2,6 – But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he doth meditate both day and night. … For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 19:8 – The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 33:4 – For the word of the Lord is right, and all His works are done in truth.
Psalm 34:14 – Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Proverbs 6:23 – For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.
Proverbs 10:9 – He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
Proverbs: 13:6 – Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
Proverbs 21:3 – To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Luke 6:46 – And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luke 11:28 – But He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Galatians 6:9 – And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Colossians 3:17 – And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 – See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
1 Peter 3:14 – But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.
James 4:17 – Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 8:21 – Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
1 John 2:29 – If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him.
Micah 6:8 – He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?