Nominated Part Tres

We still have two questions to answer about the Warm Body Mentality that exists in how churches often recruit volunteers for programming. . .
2. What if we didn't have those programs and we had visitors come in and they left because we didn't meet their needs? 3. Why do you believe the WBM is dangerous and detrimental?

2. This one is not very hard for me to answer: I think we make too many decisions out of "fearful hypotheticals." We create a scenario in our minds that we are scared might happen and then react as if that situation has already occurred or is a worst case scenario. There might be this visiting family who has this one 6th grade boy who doesn't play well with students outside his peer group and needs a 6th/7th grade Sunday School class but we don't have one so the family might leave. . .so let's get that Sunday School class started. This may sound exaggerated to many of you--but I've heard very similar detailed reasons given like this in many a meeting about not only volunteers, but about new ideas, and even about some theological points. (If "A" is true we're worried that "B", "C", "D" will happen so "A" obviously can't be true or we refuse to acknowlege it to be true because of fear of B, C, D.)

I think making fear-based decisions is rarely a healthy thing for a people led by the Spirit.

I also think that maybe we elevate the concept of "meeting people's needs" above the concept of "called and capable" people leading a particular program. If my car needs to be fixed and I try to get a well-intentioned and willing accountant to fix it, the attempt may be made but the car will probably remain unfixed. It is hard to meet a person's spiritual needs with someone unequipped to do so. When forming our programming to meet people's needs we should ask ourselves "What needs are we able to actually meet?" as well as "Are these people's needs or their preferences/desires?"

I do not expect volunteer leaders to be perfect at their jobs, (there are no perfect mechanics that I know of), but we should expect them to be competent and have some sense of calling and passion for their position. Lastly, as for the fear of people's needs not being met because of a lack of programming and them leaving: It's OK. God is a pretty big God with a ton of local churches out there. If you're not ready for that family yet programming-wise it is OK. Children should only be given matches when they're ready to use them responsibly not when they're scared they'll never feel the warmth of a fire. Bad things happen when you give matches to kids who aren't ready to use them. . .which brings us to our final WBM question to answer. . .

3. Why do you believe the WBM is dangerous and detrimental?
You can probably tell from my previous answer where this one is going. Should an accountant work on my car? Should a toddler play with matches? In most scenarios, of course not, unless said accountant is a proverbial jack-of-all-trades and the young tot is a pyro-savant. And why is the answer no? Because of the harm that comes from folks messing with stuff they don't know about.

When you have someone who is a nice person and a willing person but doesn't know the Lord real well or the Word real well, you do not have a Sunday School teacher.

When you have someone who wants to direct a committee or serve on a board but doesn't have a real prayer life or hasn't demonstrated wisdom in their own personal lives, you do not have a leader.

When you have someone who has kids and shows up regularly on Wednesdays, but doesn't know how to hold a conversation with a teenager or share their personal testimony in a meaningful way, you do not have a youth chaperone.

I said above that making fear-based decisions is rarely a healthy thing for people led by the Spirit--I said rarely because I think there are two kinds of fear we need to have more often:
A "fear of the Lord" where we respect His desire for His children to bear His image and a "fear for the spiritual health of our sheep" that supersedes our desire to have any ole pasture (program/leader) for our sheep to graze in.

I believe much of the lack of spiritual vitality in our congregations and much of the exodus of our churched youth from further church life and involvement can be traced to putting warm bodies in positions of spiritual influence who had little to no spiritual lives themselves. They went from being nice unsaved people to plugged-in church people rather quickly--without much training or observation of the process of spiritual formation in them by their spiritual overseers.


If we want the steak and potatoes of the faith to be eaten by all but place babyfood and milkbottle Christians in a majority of our influential positions, then we can expect our spiritual Outback to go out of business. When people (young people especially) don't see the fruit or the fire in their leaders, we cannot expect their faith, fruit, or fire to manifest magically on its own. In fact, when people (including myself) see the lowest common denominator being accepted it is very easy and natural to set your own standards to the same level.

I know this is not the case in all churches so do not be offended by the observations--but I know these descriptions are very accurate for many congregations.

In the final post, I will offer some positive and viable alternatives to the WBM. . .

Matt O.