“It’s easier if I do it myself,” I responded to a volunteer. It was a Sunday afternoon and we were preparing for our youth group Super Bowl party that evening. I had run to the grocery store and picked up drinks, stopped by the restaurant to pick up wings, and gathered all of the meal supplies from the church kitchen and began to setup the table when the volunteer arrived. Does this story sound familiar yet?
“You should have let me know you had so much to do. I would have loved to picked up the food,“ she said.
“It’s easier if I do it myself.” These words echo through churches. Pastors say them. Children’s directors say them. Youth directors say them. Even volunteers who are serving to coordinate major events for the church have said them.
I could easily justify this wrong answer to you. We’ve all had our reasons for taking the easier route. In this case, I had the credit card, ordered the food, and I knew the plan. As long as I did the work, we didn’t have to worry about the church credit card, processing reimbursement, or a volunteer paying out of pocket. It was just easier for me to do it myself. Isn’t this typically the case? And the truth is, it is easier to do it myself.
Here’s the question I ask myself and propose to you.
It’s easier, but is it better?
Does it make for a better ministry when we do go about our work all on our own? Are we equipping others if we do it ourselves? How are helping to setup the long-term success of the ministry?
If you’ve uttered these words to yourself, to someone else, or have heard them in the church let me propose three reason why it’s better to ask someone to help.
- Enlisting Others is a Time Saver: “It takes more time to tell someone else how to do it than if I just did myself.” That’s correct for the first time. However, when you share the work with others you save time for yourself. If you have 20 hours of preparation for a trip and share it with one other person, the work is now accomplished in 10 hours. Every time you enlist someone else, you are investing in time management and developing a ministry that accomplish its work with efficiency. Now that you’ve got that 10 hours back, how will spend that time?
- An Exponential Multiplier: Expressing, in word or action, that you must complete each task means that the impact of the ministry is dependent on one person’s ability, time, and schedule. While we might never explicitly state this out loud, we demonstrate it when we take the workload on our shoulders and don’t ask for help. Rather, the ministry that invests in volunteers will have a deeper and longer-lasting impact on those it is called to serve. I always found that each adult involved the ministry was able to connect with others who I had not been able to reach. For each volunteer you equip, the ministry is prepared for five more people to be involved. If you told me that every $1 invested, I would get $5 back on, I would not hesitate to make that investment. This is how it works with volunteers. What’s stopping you now?
- Opportunity to Procrastinate: This week someone said to me, “I wish I had more time to do the things I love and need to do.” Do you dream of having more time to prepare to teach? More time to spend with those you’re called to serve? What about having more time to invest in the future goals and vision for the ministry? By enlisting others in the ministry, having enough time for what you love to do, can become a reality. However, it will seem like a far-off dream for anyone who takes on more for the sake of easy.
While we can accomplish the work on our own, is it better or is it just easier?
What ways have you fought against the easier way in your work? What benefits have you found when you do?
I’d love to hear your responses. Email me at Bryant.firstname.lastname@example.org.