Small Roles, Big Kingdom Impact

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In God's Kingdom, there are no insignificant or unimportant roles. Afshin Ziafat, Lead Pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, TX, shares the story of Epaphroditus from the book of Philippians, urging leaders to encourage their volunteers.

Philippians 2:25-30 (ESV)

25I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need,26for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill.27Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.28I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.29So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,30for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

What can you learn from Paul's commendation of Epaphroditus about how to encourage your volunteers? Have your volunteers heard the kind of appreciation from you that Paul gave Epaphroditus in his letter to the Philippians?
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How do you currently encourage your volunteers? Do you have regular, established rhythms (quarterly emails, yearly "thank you" banquets, etc.) to show your appreciation for their service and give encouragement for the work they do?
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Reflect on a time when you served as a volunteer in a thankless or seemingly menial capacity. What would have most encouraged you in that role? How can you use the story of Epaphroditus to validate those who serve with you?
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Think about the volunteers currently serving in your ministry. Is there anyone in particular who you think might need special encouragement? What can you do to communicate how valuable they are to you and the important role they play in the Kingdom of God?
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As Afshin noted, "no role is too little in what God is doing in His Kingdom." However, it is easy to lose sight of this truth. Actively encouraging the volunteers in your ministry helps them to keep proper perspective on the importance of their service.