The Equipper Newsletter
October 28, 2014
Churches Equipping Saints for Service
 Paid or Volunteer?
What work is done by staff at your church? What work is done by volunteers? Usually, the line between the two is pretty clear. Some positions (pastor, secretary) are filled by employees. Others (Sunday school teacher, usher) are volunteer positions.

When that line is unclear, or cause of disagreement, emotions run high. The root issue is easily overlooked, with significant kingdom impact.

  • For a new position, or when someone retires, do we hire or do we seek a volunteer?
  • Some musicians are unhappy that other musicians are paid but they are not.
  • When highly skilled volunteers start working alongside staff, staff feel their job is threatened by the financial advantages of volunteers.
  • Some skilled volunteers feel they are being taken advantage of when asked to freely give skills that put bread on the table.
Continue reading -- how to decide between hiring staff or recruiting a volunteer; and what is perhaps the root issue and why it is significant.
  FYI: Website Rework
I'm moving my website,, to a new platform. Due to the work involved, this is the last planned newsletter until the move is complete, hopefully by Thanksgiving. Or Christmas . . .
 Funding for volunteer-led projects
If your church has Thrivent* members, you've got a great new way to encourage serving in your church and beyond. Twice a year, a Thrivent member can apply for $250 in seed money when they create a short-term "action team" to provide a service, raise funds or plan an educational event. Info here. How does the church benefit?
  • Volunteers can choose to use the funds to lower operating costs. A member-led team can buy and plant perennials; buy and apply paint to the fellowship room; buy and serve the food for a Lenten supper, etc.
  • When someone implements an action team, their passion will grow for the cause they support, and they'll grow in understanding and use of their primary gifts. 
  • The action plan can benefit anyone (the local Red Cross chapter, or the elderly widow next door who needs a new front door), so the church dan emphasize that we serve our Lord anywhere and everywhere, not just through volunteering at church.
*Thrivent Financial ( is a financial services organization  that helps Christians be wise with finances and live generously. As the largest U.S. fraternal benefit society (a not-for-profit membership organization), charitable work is part of their identity and mission. In 2013, the common bond of members was extended from Lutherans to all Christians.
 More Good Stuff
  1. Does your church measure the service given by your volunteers? Iíve seen very little measurement going on in churches, and Iím very much a novice at it. This report on measurement in other nonprofits will get you started.
  2. Susan Ellis invites us to think about whom we donít ask to volunteer (but we should).

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In this issue:

The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources