Whose voice are the people in your ministry listening to? The voice of the Holy Spirit, or yours? I came to conclude early on that I actually have the powers of persuasion. I have the ability to speak and act in such a way that I can get people to do things that I would like them to do. It’s called persuasion. It’s called leadership. Even at a young age, I had the ability to get people to follow me. However, in ministry, I want to make sure that my own personal powers of persuasion are not being leveraged as a form of manipulation. People need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not my voice. I do not want to, in a pressure filled yet persuasive way, convince someone that they should be volunteering in Children’s Ministry. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit.

I understand. I need volunteers. You need volunteers. However, you don’t want the wrong volunteers. You do not want someone to respond to your persuasion, but rather you want someone to respond to the power of the Holy Spirit. In all honesty, I have actually done my best to convince someone that they shouldn’t volunteer in our ministry more than I have tried to convince them that they should. I have overtly encouraged people to pray about their decision, and if they don’t feel that God is leading them to serve, then by all means to please say no. It would be a train wreck for them and for you if someone agrees to volunteer that doesn’t feel God is truly calling them.

Don’t forget that you may hold some form of authority in the life of your church. Be cautious. Don’t exercise or seek to leverage that authority in an inappropriate way. You are not the junior Holy Spirit. And we, as leaders, can allocate our gifts and abilities to make people do what we think they should do. This can be very dangerous.

People need to be compelled to volunteer because the Lord Almighty is calling them to do this. How much more powerful would they be if God, not you, has called them. I don’t want to be a manipulative leader. I want to be a leader who leads people to see and act and respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Would you rather have people respond “no” to you, or for them to feel guilt, pressure, and persuasion to say yes to something that they have no business saying yes to? Please do everyone a favor and give them the freedom to say no.