The Equipper Newsletter
February 3, 2014
Churches Equipping Saints for Service
 Volunteers: Going to the Dogs
I'm not a dog person. Due to family allergies, we never owned a dog, much to my sons' disappointment and my relief. But now my church owns a dog. Last November, in a "passing of the leash" ceremony, we received Susie, a beautiful Golden Retriever, as our own Comfort Dog. I've not only come to enjoy Susie, I've concluded we ought to treat all our church volunteers more like Susie. Let me explain.

Susie's ministry is to show up and let people pet and hug her. People who are hurting are particularly drawn to Susie. She is patient and friendly, warm and soft. She doesn't judge or give advice.

Susie is always doing her job. She's often in our lobby after worship services. She regularly visits our day school - greeting children as they come to chapel, visiting classrooms, listening to kids read, often showing up when a child needs help calming down. She frequents the church office and attends many of our events.

She works as much if not more beyond our building . . . (continue)

 Worth Pondering
On Sunday mornings, churches rely on many volunteers. Worship and education would look very different without volunteers. Some of these volunteers, such as ushers and musicians, are able to worship and serve during the same hour. Others, such as Sunday school teachers and those who watch the infants and toddlers, can't. How many of this second group are give up their hour of worship in order to serve? Do you know? Does it matter? If our service is a response to God's grace and Christ's call to serve, and if worship fuels that relationship and bestows that grace, then yes, it matters greatly. 
  Good Stuff
Got a church anniversary coming up? In your church history, be sure to highlight the ministry of volunteers as well as pastors and other staff. Good ideas, and a sample slideshow, here: "Don't Let the History Made by Volunteers Fall Through the Cracks" by Susan Ellis.
  • "The Seven Myths of Volunteerism" by Bill Hybels
  • Marlene Wilson may well be considered the mother of healthy church volunteerism. This excerpt, from her book How to Mobilize Church Volunteers, summarizes her viewpoint and relates her ah-ha moment: "After having been deeply involved in the secular volunteer management field for 15 years, it came as a shock to me to realize how I had been separating my Sunday and weekday worlds. I had seen clearly the need for management skills in secular volunteer groups, but it took a long time until it occurred to me how similar the need was in the church. Church volunteers were leaving in frustration for all the same reasons that volunteers were leaving other organizations."

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