When we recruit volunteers, are we unintentionally adding to their stress and over-burdened schedules? This article, a repeat from 2010, offers three simple tasks, and one important attitude shift, that simplify and de-stress volunteering. They're offered with a prayer that we not only simplify our own church work (volunteer or paid), but that we help those who serve with us do the same.
Life is complicated. Life is stressful. Your employer wants you to squeeze more work into the same hours, the kids need help with their homework, your elderly relative needs your assistance, and there are important papers somewhere in that pile of unsorted mail.
At least you can go to church, where you're fed and nourished by the One who invites all who "labor and are heavy laden" to come to him and receive "rest for [our] souls' (Matt. 11:28-29). But the bulletin has several new (and many old) "volunteers needed" notices. A friend asks you to lend a hand at the upcoming mission supper, and your heart goes out to another friend who is buckling under the burden of organizing the spring fellowship event. Despite a resolve to cut back on your commitments, despite the ways you're already volunteering, you head home having agreed to yet one more volunteer task.
You love your Lord and you love your church. You know God wants us all to serve, and you see so many needs, important needs, at church. Plus the school and the kids' activities need volunteers, and you want to serve your community, too. No wonder we're so easily buried under, and burned out by, our volunteering. Volunteering too often adds stress and complexity to our lives.
In desperation, some people change churches, or quit going all together, to avoid volunteering. They use their busy jobs to justify not helping at all at church or the kids' school. But these desperate steps aren't necessary. You can serve and volunteer in a simple, non-draining, God-pleasing way.
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Externally Focused Church Event
You still have time!
Eric Swanson speaking on "The Externally Focused Church"
Fri. Feb. 8 at 12:30 pm and Sat. Feb. 9 at 8:30 am
(Same presentation each day.)
St. Peter Lutheran Church, Arlingtonn Heights, Illinois
An externally focused church is one that:
believes the community cannot be healthy without the church
believes that Christians don't grow until they begin serving
understands the power of service
is evangelistically effective
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