Today begins a multi-post series on the importance of volunteering as we count down to Frontline, the volunteer training event of the year at the Summit. 

There’s a word that’s dirty and glorious all at the same time when it’s spoken in the local church: consumerism.  It’s a dirty word because as God Fearing Christians, we don’t want to be labeled as anything that remotely smacks of selfishness.  It’s a glorious word because consumers can be exactly the kind of people you want to reach: those who are looking for a church that preaches the Bible faithfully, that matches up with a missional mindset, that offers programming where their kids and marriage will be fed.

But obviously, there can be a dark side to consumerism.  The dark side is revealed when we’re more bent out of shape that the coffee bar has run low on hazelnut creamer than the fact that we cut four people off in traffic on the way to church.  It’s revealed when we get our feelings hurt that there is no SummitLIFE group for left-handed, blue-eyed, Republican bee farmers within a five-minute drive of our house.  And perhaps one of the strongest places that it’s revealed is when we refuse to continue to extend a blessing that has been extended to us.

You may have to read that last sentence twice.  Here’s what I mean: every single Sunday, we average about 25-30 first time guests.  Those first time guests are the recipients of blessing at the hand of our various volunteer teams.  They’re shown to premium parking by the guys in the dorky orange vests.  Their kids are taught and taken care of by our incredible kidslife team.  They are led straight to God’s throne by our worship choir and band. 

Many of these 25-30 guests will end up staying at the Summit.  A majority of them stay because of the experience that was created by the orange vests and kidslife team and worship choir and band and hundreds of other volunteers that delivered a “wow” experience.

Now for just a moment, let me challenge you to put yourself in the shoes of a first time guest.  You experience the “wow” on your first Sunday.  You realize that this is a cool church where people care about you and where God is known.  You decide that this is a place where you want to be long-term.  You jump in to the Starting Point process so you can become a member.  And then, when you’re challenged to find one of dozens of places to serve, you sit back, fold your arms, and say to yourself, “There’s no way I’m doing that.”

How sick is that?

There’s something very wrong with experiencing a blessing, and then refusing to continue the blessing.  There’s something twisted about always receiving, but never giving.

Let me be very clear: as a believer, you must serve.  It’s ingrained in the fabric of your soul.  To receive the free gift of salvation and never do anything with the gifts you’ve been given is just deadly.  You will dry up spiritually.

Ask yourself this question: “What was it that brought me / kept me at the Summit?”  Chances are, you’ll have to factor the service of volunteers into the equation.  Now ask, “Am I contributing something that would attract or keep someone else?”  If not, you’re hoarding the blessings you’ve been given.  But I have good news!  At Frontline, you can take the first step towards extending your gifts to others.  You can break out of the non-serving rut and learn how to be a blessing to new peeps at the Summit.  Most importantly, you can stop worrying about the lack of hazelnut creamer and start worrying about those who are still far from God.

What’s keeping you from extending the blessing?