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3 Reasons People Don’t Serve In the Church

I know you’ve seen these people at your church.  They come in and eat the donuts, drink the coffee, talk and chat with everyone, but they make a wide berth around the volunteer tables in the lobby or they disappear when someone asks for volunteers.  Come to think of it this describes most church members and guess what, they are your brothers and sisters in Christ.  They need to be loved too!  I guarantee you there is a legitimate reason they do not serve, sometimes it is not very apparent and other times they are more than happy to explain it to you.

Below I have listed three reasons people have shared with me for not serving:

They are tired from serving so much at their last church

Many times people who transfer from another church feel this way.  Their last church put them on the schedule in the nursery every week for 2 years straight (There are never enough nursery workers at any church!), and they worked it, never denying the request and although it started out as a great and fun experience, after a year it started to get old and patience began to wear thin with the ministry director.  They didn’t know how to get out of it or explain to their volunteer director that they needed a break so the easiest thing to do was leave the church, find another and never look back.

They don’t know how to get involved

I recently heard from a member of a church across town that they wanted to serve, but did not know how to get involved.  He told me that they don’t have a signup table, and no one shares anything from the stage or the screens about needs in the different ministries.  It seems that every spot is filled and it’s ok with him but sometimes he wants to get involved in something and there is no need.

They just consume

Some people are just consumers.  Many of these people are new Christians and it is okay and preferable to only consume, for a time.  Others are older and in questionable health and that again is ok.  Then there are some who “just want to be fed”, as if the church existed only for them to feel warm and fuzzy on Sundays after singing the new Chris Tomlin anthem.  I have met a ton of these people and admit that I once was a consumer, just wanting to be fed.  It led to burning bridges with a handful of churches and many people that cared about me. 

These are just three of the hundreds of reasons people don’t serve in the church.  Many of them are legitimate and some are just plain silly.  In the next couple of blog posts I am going to spell out how we as a Christian family can inspire these brothers and sisters to take the leap into serving in the church.

What are some reasons you’ve heard on why people don’t serve in the church?

How would you help them?

Photo by Paul Lowry

Published inServing


  1. Kevin Kevin

    Hey brother! Well done! Glad that you have started writing. I have enjoyed my experiences with it as well.

    I believe your third point is most likely the biggest of them all. I bounce between serving and point number three all the time. Sometimes you just need a break and there is nothing wrong with that but at the same time we have to understand that if we do not help who will?

    • Matt Matt

      Thanks Kevin! I agree sometimes people just need a break but some church members don’t know how to tell their leaders, so they quit everything! It seems easier that way for some. My number one goal for this blog is to inspire people to serve their church and community. My prayer is that more people will understand that they have a part to play in the church and community.

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