Loving On Volunteers: A Real-Life Story

A couple of days ago I wrote a post calling “Loving Your Volunteers.” In it, I encouraged Technical Arts staff to pick up the phone and make a simple call to love on a volunteer. Within a day, I heard an inspiring story of a technical director named Justin Kirk from a church in Tennessee. If you needed any encouragement to follow my advice and love your volunteers, this will surely provide it!

Anthony, I read your post entitled “Loving Your Volunteers” yesterday. It hit home with me because I’ve felt like I should’ve been doing what you suggested for a while.

On my way to the church this morning, I heard on the radio about Lifestar (the helicopter ambulance company) being dispatched to a wreck. I immediately thought of one of my volunteers that is the operations manager for Lifestar at UT hospital. So I called him to see how he is doing. When he answered, we just chatted for a few minutes and then I asked him “is there’s anything I can do for you? any help i can give you?” That’s all I said. He told me about his job and about some family issues that he really would like prayer for. I told him about being on the way to work and hearing about Lifestar and it made me think of him. He then told me that the helicopter was 90 seconds out from the hospital carrying passengers from the wreck I heard about and he was waiting to unload it. We took about 60 seconds to pray. It really touched me that I could step in and be a part of his day and, hopefully, encourage him.

Feeling the rush of praying for my guys and the connection…I called another.

He’s an older guy with minor health problems. Nothing major. After his last little stint of throwing up blood and going to the hospital back in the summer, I thought he was OK now.

We were talking and I asked him if there’s anyway I can pray for him. He then proceeds to tell me that he has two types of cancer and that no one in the church knows. Only his family knows. We have over 1500 members and over 1000 people attending services on sunday morning. I asked him why no one knows and he said he didn’t want any sympathy.

Wow. I was shocked. He serves with the deacons, the kitchen crew, the media team, and the transportation ministry and no one knows what’s going on but me! I felt honored that he let me in on something that is so private just so I could pray for him. We prayed and then he had to get back to work. After talking to him, I realized that I hadn’t followed up with him after he told me about having to go to the Hematologist back in September. That’s when he found that he has a lowgrade Leukemia. Just three weeks ago he found out that he has another, more major, cancer.

I really felt guilt for not checking in with him more often and asking him if I could pray for him.

Both of these phone calls together were right at 11 minutes. 11 minutes out of my day that have changed me and hopefully them.

I’ve been at this church for 3 years this past January, and I’ve felt like nothing more than a person that tells these guys how to push buttons and turn knobs. Today, however, I felt like I could actually make a difference in their lives! I feel like my job actually has meaning rather than just making it look pretty and sound good. I’ve felt like more should be done on my part but I really just didn’t know where to start. Thank you for that start!



  1. I believe this is the reason why we should be in ministry. It touches my heart to read this story and I believe it touches God’s heart too. Way to go Justin, and thanks for sharing Anthony.

  2. Justin, thanks for a great inspiring story of how the post from Anthony inspired you and how you put the suggestion into to practice. I’m on a tech team at a church I think in the same area as you, close to UT. Would like to connect with you and talk. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The church is in the northeast corner of the county.

    Thanks Anthony for you great thoughts. You have opened my eyes and I will also be making calls even though I’m just a volunteer on the team. Thanks again for the post….Mike


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