Pastor Bill Hybels believes there is a new reality in America. The church has entered an era of growth and unprecedented spiritual opportunity to share the Gospel, yet at the same time we face a shrinking economy and a world in crisis. This poses a great resource challenge for the church. In order to reach out to people who are spiritually hungry, the church needs more people to be equipped to serve others. Hybels says the key to the future of the church is the equation X (paid staff) + Y (volunteers) = Z (bearing much fruit for God's glory). Churches cannot afford to continue hiring more and more staff with limited budgets. And so the key to resourcing the church is what Hybels calls the Y factor. The Y factor is the pool of volunteers in every church. A s churches recover the message of Ephesians 4:11-12 to "equip God's people for works of service," it is the volunteer who can serve. But there is a two-edged sword in this situation: People are just waiting to discover the gifts and passions that God has given them to serve others and use those gifts to power the local church and advance the kingdom of God on earth. The need is there. But those who can help are there, too.
It is time to launch a Volunteer Revolution. Every church staff should be helping people discover their spiritual gifts, passions to serve, and places of service in order to meet the growing needs in our churches and world. Hybels makes a clarion call to move beyond volunteer retention to volunteer acquisition. By attracting, connecting, training, and sustaining volunteers, churches will mobilize people into places of service and bring new meaning to their lives. Hybels also outlines how we can build lifelong volunteers in the church through community, celebration, and commendation.
Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Willow Creek's innovative ministries have made it one of the most attended churches in North America. Hybels has authored over 20 books, including, Fit to Be Tied, and Rediscovering Church (with his wife Lynne), Honest to God, Too Busy Not to Pray, and Courageous Leadership.