Don’t Forget About People

Carl Barnhill

I want to tell you a story of a time I messed up when it comes to serving people. 

The problem lies in this – we didn’t follow up with him, at least I didn’t. I was serving on staff at a large church in Mississippi. Our volunteer team was growing and we were implementing some great things to enhance the worship experiences at this church. I was good friends with the Service Producer on staff and we were raising a guy up to serve as a volunteer Service Producer. This position was in charge of Planning Center Online Live, and helping keep the production moving forward.

We were so thrilled to have him on the team, because he wasn’t your typical grew-up-in-the-church kind of believer. This guy really changed his life around to start following Christ.

Through some circumstances, we found out that he was having some marital problems. We even found out that he was dangerously close to having an affair with a co-worker. There were some question marks surrounding the situation.

The Service Producer and myself made a decision to talk to this volunteer and asked him to take a break from his leadership role and even from serving for a little while so he could work on his marriage. Which, considering the circumstances, was a good decision.

We asked him to take a break and failed to meet with him occasionally to see how he was doing.

I didn’t check up on him.

I didn’t call.

I didn’t text.

I didn’t have coffee with him a few weeks later to get an update or to offer help.

I let him go. And I never really heard from him again.

As far as I know now, he hasn’t returned to church.

I have no clue where he is in his faith journey.

This was a guy that wasn’t churched. He needed the encouragement of another male believer coming alongside him and helping him walk out his faith. And I failed him.

You see, it wasn’t about pushing the buttons on Sunday. It was about a person.

Don’t make the mistakes I did in this situation.

Don’t forget about people.

Pastor first. Care more about who your volunteers are becoming than what they do on your team.

About Carl Barnhill

Owner, Church Visuals

Carl Barnhill is a creative entrepreneur, motion designer and author. He is the Owner Church Visuals, a company that helps Ministry Leaders visually communicate the Gospel. He is the host of the Your Visuals Matter Podcast. You can find him in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife, Katie and two sons, Jacob and Wesley.

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