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Article by James Bruyn

As leaders, we are leading our volunteers by the free grace and goodwill of God. Each volunteer, just like us was fearfully and wonderfully created by God; and all the days ordained for them were written in God’s book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16). God has plans for each volunteer, plans to prosper and not to harm them (Jer 29:11).

For this season God has brought them together with their unique gifts and talents under our leadership. As leaders God has entrusted us with a great privilege to lead these people who are His children and heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ just like we are (Rom 8:17).

Who are our volunteers?

These men and women, this team of volunteers that we lead, are Christ followers. Each of them has been qualified by God our Father to share together in the inheritance of God’s holy people in the kingdom of light. Each of them has been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son that God loves. Each of them, like us, has found redemption and the forgiveness of their sins (Col 1:12-14).

These volunteers are God’s holy people; faithful brothers and sisters in Christ living their lives as responsible citizens in our community (Col 1:2). They are holy because they have been transformed by the Lord’s grace. They are brothers and sisters learning to love God, to be faithful to God, to love each other, to be faithful to each other and to love and to walk with God in their schools, jobs, and families.

Our team members will be tempted just like we are by sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. At times our team members will behave one way on the team, and another at work or at home, not recognizing that the marketplace is also under the Lordship of Christ.

At times there will be anger, rage, malice, slander and even filthy language coming from the lips of our team members either towards each other, or outsiders providing services to the team (Col 3:5,8,9). At times there will not be complete honesty with each other or attempts to get around rules and regulations. At these moments, we can remind our team members that they are God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved by God; loved with a love that cost God the very life of his own son, for only love can bind them together into a team of perfect unity.

At those moments we can invite them to clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience towards each other and those serving the team, and those they relate to at home, at school and in the marketplace. But before we can ask them to behave this way, we as leaders need to allow God’s divine grace to transform us into men and women marked by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Do we lead from a posture of fear or love?

As we lead our team, we do not lead from a posture of fear, as is so often found in the world, but from hearts of love, not love for the world, but love for our Heavenly Father.

As Christ followers our confidence rests in our personal relationship with God, our covenant-keeping Savior and in his grace and faithfulness. It is this confidence that enables us to love the volunteers God has entrusted to us to lead.

When we lead with love, when our team lives in love, they live in God and God dwells in them. There is no fear in love, for perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:16-18). When we live in love, our team has nothing to fear in the day of trouble that comes to every team and every project.

Why? Because Christ will keep us and our team safe in his dwelling; he will hide us in the shelter of his sacred tent and set us high upon a rock. Then our heads will be exalted above our enemies who surround us; at His sacred tent we will sacrifice with shouts of joy; and we will sing and make music to the Lord (Ps 27:5-6).

Praying for our volunteers

As Christians, our worship is rooted in our singular devotion to God, from whom and to whom our salvation is directed. And so we fall on our knees in thanksgiving to God, our Father, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for our volunteers’ faith in Christ and unconditional love for each other springing from the hope of God’s coming salvation. We praise God that Christ is at work transforming our volunteers, fellow believers, into a community of faith and love, that will not only accomplish this project, but will also make a positive difference in the surrounding community through the fruit their lives are bearing (Col 1:3-6).

We should pray daily for our volunteers, asking God to fill them individually with the knowledge of his will so that each one of them may live a life in obedience to Christ, worthy of the Lord and pleasing him in every way, in their family, at work and in all of their life circumstances—bearing fruit in every good work that they do. We should pray daily that each volunteer would grow in the knowledge of God in their current life situations and be strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience.

But we also need to pray that collectively as a team, with the unique gifts that each volunteer brings, that together God would fill us with the knowledge of his will for the project. We need to pray that as a team we would be obedient to Christ and behave in a way that is worthy of the Lord and please him in every way—as a team bearing fruit in every good work that we do.

We need to pray that as a team we would grow together in the knowledge of God and together rely on his wisdom to complete our project and be strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might, so that as a team we would have great endurance and patience with each other, and with our community as we work on the project God has entrusted us with (Col 1:9-11).

What is our heart’s desire for our team?

Are we concerned that our team might become captive to hollow and deceptive philosophies depending on human tradition instead of the word of Christ (Col 2:8)? Remember that our volunteers go to school and work in the marketplace where they are bombarded with human traditions and the message to trust in themselves. This may drive them to compartmentalize their faith into their private life with little impact on their public life.

Our volunteers are surrounded by those who walk in step with the wicked, and stand in the way of sinners, and sit in the company of mockers. Is it our desire to help them delight in the law of the Lord? Is it our desire to see the Holy Spirit create a longing in their hearts to meditate on God’s law day and night, so that they will be like trees planted by streams of water in the midst of a dry and barren land?

For then they will yield their fruit in season, and whatever they do will prosper (Psalm 1:1-3). For then our project team will yield its fruit in season and what we our doing together as a team will prosper. Then we as leaders can rejoice with the angels at what God is doing through their lives in our project, on our team, and in their community.

Are we motivated by tender compassion for our team’s spiritual welfare?

Do we strenuously contend with all the energy that Christ is powerfully working in us, to proclaim, admonish and teach each of our volunteers with all wisdom, so that we may present each of them fully mature in Christ (Col 1:28)?

As a leader, like Paul, is it our heart’s desire that our volunteers would know the grace and peace of God (Col 1:2)? Is it our desire that they would experience the free gift of God, empowering a holy and faithful life?

Is our goal that each team member, men and women who have been purchased by Christ’s blood, is encouraged in heart, united in love, and has the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:1-3)?

Is our heart’s desire that just as our team members received Christ Jesus as Lord, that they would continue to live their lives in him, on the team, at work, at home, at school, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as they were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Col 2:6-7)?

Or are we so focused on the project, that we lose sight of the men and women God has entrusted to us to lead?