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Learning about Volunteers

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It’s been 15 years since I worked a full time job and did ministry part time. That’s changed. This past month I have been given the wonderful opportunity to teach a Drug and Violence Awareness Program in one of our local elementary schools. It’s typically a couple of days a week teaching in each class – and I have loved it. However, do to testing and snow days my schedule has been rearranged to accommodate the program and class schedules. Thus, today is my forth day in a row of teaching 8:00 to 3:00.

Keep in mind, while adding this extra workload I still have to continue my full time ministry job as pastor. That means a lot of afternoon calls, meetings, and studying. And…I am tired – bone tired – wiped out!

Let’s just say this has been a great learning experience for me. Here are some of my observations;

• My respect level for anyone who volunteers to serve in his or her local church has gone sky high! Yes, I believe everyone should find a place of service. I believe God has given us gifts and talents to be used for His glory. It’s just that my respect for the people who actually put in 40 to 50 hours of work at their normal job then come join us for ministry at night or on weekends has gone out the roof.
• My respect for my wife and what she does has hit the moon! I honestly don’t know how she does it? I don’t think I would – I don’t think I could – not for as long as she has. The next time someone tries to tell me what my wife isn’t doing what she should be doing – I hope they are standing close enough for me to punch them in the throat! If you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes, don’t expect to understand the crap they have walked through to get to where they are.
• Churches and pastors (yes, myself included) often take advantage of their volunteers. Let explain this – again, everyone should find a place of service - everyone should understand what’s expected of his or her ministry task (another post sometime but we fail in this area big time!) - but we have to stop expecting our volunteers to be at the church 7 to 10 hours a week plus spend time at home growing their relationship with Christ and preparing their next lesson.

I would love to hear what some of you have to say about churches expectations on volunteers and how we as pastors can do a better job of caring for schedules, expectations, ect.

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