Picture it. No volunteers. No one to greet you or those who are new on Sunday morning. A first time visitor would walk through our doors expecting to be welcomed only to find what? Nothing. They’d make their way to a seat, get fed spiritually and go home. Later, perhaps they’d think, “Yeah, the message was great; so was the music. But something was lacking. There was no warmth there. No one cared about me. I think I’ll have to look for a friendlier church, or just give up on finding a church altogether.”
No Care Team to call members during the month to see how everything is going; to staff the prayer room for everyone, to lift you and your families in prayer; to come and see you in the hospital or to be there to see that everything runs smoothly when you lose a loved one and have their celebration of life at our church.
No enrichment for the children; no one to teach them the positive lessons that are Unity.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Besides being an essential part of keeping things running smoothly, here are a few more reasons to volunteer.
1. Feel fulfilled and as if you make a difference.
Because you do. Invariably, when asked what they like about serving, volunteers say such things as “sense of fulfillment”, “a way to give back”, or “this church has given me so much that I’d be selfish if I didn’t give it something”.
2. Make new friends.
Many of our volunteers have made new friends through volunteering, and who knows? You may connect with someone, through the act of volunteering, who will play a major, positive role in your life.
3. Discover your gifts.
So often when we step out we discover wonderful gifts that might otherwise have remained undiscovered. Imagine finding out that you love working with kids? That you can be the rock that someone who is going through a difficult time needs, or the friendly face for someone who has had a grueling week.
4. Overcome shyness.
Maybe you’re shy or think your potential to serve is unimportant. Maybe it looks like things are running smoothly, so you’re not really needed. Sometimes, when we move beyond our comfort zones, we find that we’re simply not as shy as we thought we were and we’re given new confidence – a confidence that can extend to other parts of our lives.
5. Influence this ministry by being a bigger part of something successful.
By volunteering and being a presence, you have a direct influence on how we look and how we show up. As a volunteer, you’re a frontline living testament to the spiritual fulfillment available here. You can have a direct influence on attracting and keeping new people and on setting a positive tone for the Sunday morning experience or any area in which you choose to serve.
6. Become more than a spectator.
You become a part of a great team of individuals with beautiful, varied personalities and a common goal; to keep this church great and to create an atmosphere that makes others want to join the team! Working full time and showing up at church on Sunday, it’s easy to just want to kick back, hear the message and the music, maybe grab a snack in fellowship hall, and be gone until the next time. But did you know that a volunteer commitment is generally only 1-3 hours per month? Only 12-36 hours out of your year?
7. Get more hugs.
I recently read that hugs have many attributes besides just feeling good. They stimulate oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of contentment and aids in reducing anxiety and stress. Hugs are said to help prevent disease by strengthening the immune system, and they are a great non-verbal communication. There are many more benefits to hugs, but rest assured, as a volunteer you can have as many hugs as you want.
So – how do you show up? How do you give back to your spiritual family?
If you’re already a volunteer, I invite you to share in the comments what volunteering has been like for you, what you’ve gained, how it feels to give; if you haven’t volunteered, feel free to take the next step by commenting on which areas interest you, or to ask questions, or to express your concerns about volunteering. Most of our volunteer positions have a “job” description; feel free to ask to see one or all. We have many positions just waiting for you to lend your unique style to one (or more!).
Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another. ~Erma Bombeck