The Equipper Newsletter
November 2, 2010
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

 How Does a Garden Grow?
by Karen Kogler

"I looked up and saw Joe, a 92-year old African-American man." Both Joe and the speaker, John Greves, were working in the Community Garden project in Vancouver, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland. "I thought of all this man had seen in his life," John continued. "The garden was that kind of place, where young people and older people worked together. I heard stories of what it was like growing up on a farm. It was an incredible experience."

John was one of the volunteer organizers of the garden project, as well as a worker. The garden is on one acre of a plot previously used as a research station by Washington State University. John describes it as beautiful land in an urban environment. "There's commercial buildings and apartments up and down the street, but lots of bird life in the garden. It's a spiritual place to be. "

John and Joe are among 89 volunteers who gave a combined 683 hours to the garden. Continue reading this articl

Reflection Questions

  1. Who is your church partnering with to serve people in need?
  2. What resources has God given your congregation in your people? In your physical location? In your history? How might those resources benefit your community?
  3. What groups in your community might be potential partners?

Suggested resources

  • The Externally-Focused Church and The Externally-Focused Quest: Being the Best Church for the Community, books by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw
  • "Sacred and Secular Volunteering," August 2009 article by Karen Kogler
Note: See some pictures of the garden in First Presbyterian's August 2010 newsletter.  
Know of an interesting ministry? Recommend it for a story.

 Follow-up response on volunteer software
Last month's newsletter included a question and response about volunteer software. Read it here.
Update! Diana from Illinois added a great suggestion:
 "Beth, I work for a Christian Ministry with several hundred volunteers. The current software is able to do almost everything I need it to do regarding volunteers, with the exception of tracking volunteer hours. We are contacting the tech department of our current software provider, explaining our need and asking how we can use the current program we have to track the volunteer hours, so we won't need to go out and buy a competitor's software.  You might want to try that."
 Recent Blogs
Karen blogs twice a month for CTA (Christian (Christian Tools of Affirmation), where you can find ministry tools and volunteer appreciation gifts.

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The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources