Vision Casting to Volunteers

John Shaw - Adult Discipleship & Missions | Bethel Baptist Church | Troy, IL

When I first came to Bethel, to my surprise, there were people who were interested in getting to know me. At first, I was cautious. I often thought in my mind, “are these people for real?”, “what’s their motive?” Over the next several weeks/months, it became clear these people had a genuine interest in knowing me, and building a relationship with me. One person in particular, Ted. Ted was intentional beyond the others. He made an extra effort to talk to me, to ask me about my life, to share about his life, invite me along in whatever he was doing. At first, I found this to be strange, thinking, “he has to be one of the pastors”. They’re “paid” to give this much attention to people who come to church. But, in getting to know him, I found out he played the piano, sang in the choir, and helped with drama/skits (all the things I loathed in high school). Surprisingly, I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame. There was something different about him. He was real, authentic, transparent, joyful, truly interested in who I was, what I liked, what made me tick. He shared about his life, his relationship with Jesus. Having never really had a real best friend, Ted became that person. He came alongside me, and walked through life with me.

Ted was not a pastor. He wasn’t “paid” staff. He was a piano playing, choir singing, drama loving, VOLUNTEER, with JESUS DNA.

As I cast vision to volunteers about relational discipleship, I often tell this story…why? Because, Ted was all about relationship. His relationship with Jesus was authentic, and his relationship with others was also authentic. Understanding the importance of relationship, Ted was intentional to connect and disciple me. Ted had something in his spiritual DNA…Jesus leadership! Jesus was intentional. He invited people into His life, intentionally leading them. He was purposeful. Jesus knew them, and met them on their level. He understood their needs and adjusted his leadership, his discipling with them. Jesus DNA!

Jesus DNA needs to run through the veins of your volunteers. Volunteers need to know they have front door access to be intentional about relational discipleship.

A small group leader, usher, greeter, tech person, musician, custodian, etc., being intentional about relationships is essential. God is always bringing people into our paths that we can disciple, or help to take a next step. Jesus modeled His DNA for us. He was the master at orchestrating a relational moment with someone. For our volunteers, asking people their name, walking them down the hall, inviting folks to their small group, or asking them join the worship team, there can be an intentional, relational discipling moment in the making. Your volunteers come in contact with lots of people from week to week. They have the potential and opportunity to become a disciple maker to someone as they volunteer. Relational discipleship is not what they do as volunteers, it is a lifestyle, who they are, just like Ted.

When casting vision to volunteers about relational discipleship:

  • Ask them about the discipling relationships in their life. Who intentionally invested in them?
  • Share a story about how God used others in your life.
  • Talk about Jesus DNA!
  • Share the definition of a disciple. They should be following Him, being changed by Him, and ON MISSION with Him.
  • CELEBRATE what God has done and is doing.

Your volunteers aren’t just volunteers, they are disciple makers first. Relational discipleship needs to be in their DNA.


John Shaw
Adult Discipleship & Missions
Bethel Baptist Church
Troy, IL