Ambassadors, not Volunteers
At River City, we call the people who serve on Sunday mornings, “ambassadors.” Why do we use this term, and not “volunteers”?
First of all, when I think of a volunteer, I think of a gap-filler. You need 3 ushers, you have two, and so you announce the need for one more. A person says something like, “Sure, I think I can do that.” They serve as an usher, even doing the job very well to the best of their ability, filled with the Spirit… and then go home, wash their hands, and never think of it again. It’s not that there’s no place in the Church for volunteers. But that’s not how we want people who serve on a regular basis to think of their role.
Ambassadors for Christ
Ambassadors represent their government, or organization, or whatever, but specifically, they represent their king. Or President. Or leader. They speak for someone else. The President can’t be in all 195 countries around the world at the same time, so he sends someone to be his representative in some of them.
Now in terms of ambassadors in a gathered church setting, of course our King is able to be in all 195 countries at once, and he is able to speak for himself, and he has spoken for himself through
- the general revelation of creation (Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:19-20)
- the specific revelation of his word (Psalm 19:7-14, Revelation 21:5)
- the personal revelation of his Son Jesus (John 1:14, 8:28)
But as 2 Corinthians 5:20 highlights, he has chosen, though he wouldn’t need to, to make his appeal to a lost and dying world through human ambassadors.
Ambassadors don’t operate out of their own vision for how things should be, they simply steward God’s vision. But they learn to apply God’s vision in context. They learn to steward that vision, applying it to the history, language, culture and uniqueness of the country they have been sent to.
That’s the role of the global Church! Steward God’s vision and his words to the people and places and cultures where he has placed us! God has chosen to give us the opportunity to participate with him in what he is doing around the world.
Making an Appeal
An appeal is a serious and urgent request. What is the serious and urgent request God would make with every man, woman, and child today? Believe and be saved!!! Or as 2 Corinthians 5:20 puts it: “Be reconciled to God!”
Every believer has been uniquely gifted by God to make that appeal to others. Some of you are musicians or artists, some are extraordinarily merciful and compassionate, some are organized and administrative, some are incredible teachers, some of you are persuasive and could sell water to someone who is drowning, others of you are brilliant leaders, others are extraordinary helpers and servants. In each of these gifts, you represent the God who made you that way. He did that for a reason. God is making an urgent request to the world, through your faithful stewardship of that gift. And when all of us put our gifts together, it’s called the body of Christ. That’s part of what it means to be made in God’s image and likeness… kids look like their parents.
- God’s word says he is our defender; and that he is an ever present help in time of trouble. What ambassador role at church does that remind you of? Security team.
- God’s word says “all who are thirsty, come and drink of the water of life that never runs dry.”; Revelation 22… The spirit and the bride say “Come.” What role at church represents that invitation or welcome of God? Hospitality, Greeters, Evangelists
- Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” What role at church represents that aspect of Christ? Teachers.
- What about setup crew? What aspect of God’s character does the setup crew represent? Creator, orderly, prepares the way
- What about singers and musicians? God is a singer. Jesus sang. Music adds expression and emotion to truth. God added skin, emotion, expression, etc to the TRUTH; creativity
- Coffee table? Sustainer. Provider. Meets our needs.
Maybe you don’t think about that every time you start unstacking or restocking chairs. But what we want you to see, is that when you serve it’s not just about getting the trailer packed just right; its not just about putting out cups and packets of creamer; it’s not just about wearing a headset and looking for trouble; it’s not just about whether or not you hit the right notes. It’s that together, when we use our individual gifts to serve others, God is at work and on display, just like he was through Jesus.
And the goal is that every time we gather as a body, Sunday mornings, Thursday mornings, Saturday mornings, Wednesday evenings, or whatever time and whatever place 2 or 3 are gathered, God is at work and on display in and through our faithful stewardship of his gifts and his appeal to the world.