The following is a guest blog by Lynne Focht, Children’s Director at Spirit Life Church.
Kids hold a special place in my heart, always have and always will. I love being able to work with our church’s kids and see their spiritual growth each Sunday, as well as their enthusiasm for learning. Running “GO!” our children’s ministry, is not an easy task, but a very rewarding one. We teach kids from ages 6 weeks to 6 schedule of volunteers. So that leads me to my next thought – volunteerism. I was approached and asked to write this blog on volunteerism, and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to write. Help us? It’s not that bad? Kids are cool? All true but I had better dig a little deeper and reflect on my own volunteering and why I do it.
I volunteer at my son’s school, Nicklin Learning Center, each week, because they need me to. Do I always skip out of the house wearing a smile on my drive there? Not exactly, but once I arrive and those kindergartners hug me I know I’m where I belong. The teachers actively seek parent volunteers to help out with everything from field trips to computer testing.
I learned to be a volunteer from my mother, who is a volunteer CASA/GAL worker, which is a court appointed child advocate for foster kids. Basically, she follows one or two foster kids at a time and makes sure their needs are being met and they are in the best home available. We learn from our role models, and my mom is one of my biggest influences.
So, needing more information, I Googled “what does the Bible say about volunteerism?” and found there to be 176 verses! If you are striving to be more Christ-like in your actions, then perhaps you might read up on this area. My personal favorite comes from James 2:14-24:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
I really don’t think it is enough for us to just show up to church each week. If we really want to make a difference in this world, then we need to actively seek good works to do. Like volunteering 🙂
Another way to look at volunteering is to consider the personal benefits. According to leading experts, dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
Considering the great benefits to volunteering, why wouldn’t everyone do it? Well, I think it’s because we fall into a trap of excuses, like we don’t have enough time in our schedules, or we donate money, so doesn’t that count as a good deed?! Or we will volunteer, if someone asks.
The truth is making time in your life to volunteer probably won’t happen unless you commit to doing it. So we are asking you directly – help us! The children of Spirit Life Church need you!
We are in need of energetic and caring people to work in all classes in the children’s department. Your commitment would be minimal – most of our volunteers work only one Sunday a month from 9:45 – 12:15. What would you be doing exactly? You would be leading a class or co-teaching with another volunteer. You do not have to bring any supplies or prepare lessons. Everything will be ready for you when you arrive. All we ask is that you be reliable and enthusiastic. Kids do notice when a teacher really isn’t into “it”. You do not have to be afraid; we will train you with another experienced person until you get one or two under your belt.
And gentlemen, yes, we need you too! Positive male role models are so important in today’s society. We already have a couple of great guys working with the kids, so you won’t be alone.
If you are at all interested in volunteering on one of our three classes, or would just like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Lynne@spiritlifechurch.us.