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Chances are, if you’ve walked into most any church, you’ve seen several volunteers almost immediately. Whether it is a greeter, a nursery worker, someone who sets up the coffee bar on sundays, volunteers are everywhere.

To the nursery workers, thank you. Week in and week out when I drop my son off for the church service, the same precious women take care of him while I get to listen to the sermon uninterrupted.

A simple thank you seems inadequate, as I admittedly don’t drop my child off with just anyone. But these women, and on occasion men, put my mind at ease when I pick my child up and he has been cared for and, 9 times out of 10, is peacefully sleeping. Thank you!

To the volunteer children’s workers, thank you. Thank you for listening to little ones recite Scripture that they will hide in their hearts for many years to come. Some of my favorite memories as a young child in church came at the hands of precious volunteers that loved me and made me feel important, and most importantly, taught me about Jesus.

Children can be really hard to be around at times, and they test your patience more than you might expect, but the work that you are doing when you volunteer in children’s ministry is work that is pointing little hearts and minds towards the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank you!

To the youth workers, thank you. Thank you for taking vacation time from your job to go to camp for a week, sleep in an uncomfortable bunk—if you get any sleep at all that is—and spend time out in the heat, playing funny games and making a fool of yourself. Summertime can be hard for parents when it comes to finding meaningful activities for their students. I know it means a lot to have someone willing to go and love your children and take care of your children while they are away at camp.

Every Wednesday night at a church youth group, there are inevitably a group of volunteers serving snacks, ready to talk to a student who might be struggling and need someone to listen to them, and most importantly, point those students to Jesus. Your hard work and dedication doesn’t go unnoticed, you are helping raise the next generation of churches across the world. Thank you!

To the volunteers who stay long after everyone else has gone home, whether that is helping clean the church, preparing food for an event, or organizing outreach events to show love to the lost and broken world, thank you.

A lot of added stress go into planning every church event. That is just the nature of event planning, but because of you, a family might feel loved and accepted for the first time. Because of you, someone may hear about Jesus for the first time. The added stress and loss of sleep pale in comparison when you count the cost of others learning that they are loved by Jesus Christ.

To every other volunteer not mentioned in any above scenario, thank you. As our interim pastor yesterday mentioned in his sermon, the church exists for two reasons: To tell the lost and broken world about the hope in Jesus, and to make disciples.

Every act of volunteering helps accomplish one of those two goals.

If you haven’t volunteered in your church, or any church recently, I would strongly urge you to take a look at your own heart and ask yourself why it is you’re coming to church, to serve or be served? I guarantee you, there are plenty of opportunities at your church. Step in and go help others learn about the Lord.

I should caution you, though. When volunteering at your church, there is a high possibility that you’ll have fun. Brace yourselves!