Wednesday, November 12, 2014

{Invest} Volunteers: The Backbone of Vital Ministries

A group of a dozen volunteers had spent four days painting a house in an urban area of Birmingham, Alabama. At the end of their stay, they realized they were not quite finished.
"It wasn't necessary that they finish," explained Danny Jones, Director for Volunteer Recruitment at Urban Ministry. "It's not like it wasn't going to get done."

Typically, volunteers on a mission trip work for several days or a week, then the next crew of volunteers takes over the job. But this particular group took extra joy in seeing their project from start to finish. "They got up at 6:30 in the morning on day they were supposed to leave in order to finish that house," said Jones.
Volunteering not only helps someone else, it also deepens that person's relationship with God. "I think when folks come and put their hands and feet, and sweat and labor, into their faith, that it just takes on a new meaning and a new perspective," added Jones.

Answering the Call
Volunteer training is an integral part of UMVIM because it is a key way to prepare yourself to answer the call when others are in need. In April of this year, tornadoes struck throughout North Carolina, killing one person and injuring 27 others. More than 327 homes were damaged or destroyed across four counties.
For many years, Ann Huffman has coordinated disaster response volunteers for the North Carolina Conference. In the wake of the tornadoes, she marveled at how quickly trained volunteer teams were able to help tornado survivors. "We had an Early Response Team that had just received training about two or three weeks before the tornadoes," she said. "They were responding within their own communities. The timing was absolutely perfect."

From City to Country
Whether volunteers are in the city, at a disaster site, or in a rural setting, they have a tremendous impact on the lives of others.
Rebecca Dean, who helps coordinate volunteers for Alabama Rural Ministry, says young people in particular are personally impacted by their own experience as volunteers. "I can honestly say that our ministry would not be possible without the vigor, love or joy that volunteers, especially youth, bring to rural Alabama," she said. "These young people come with such an eagerness to serve and love on families and children whom they have never met."

Did you know December 2nd is this year's National Day of Giving? Click here to learn more about #GivingTuesday, and follow us across our social media channels and blogall month long for our ongoing #GivingTuesday campaign, where we are sharing the story of our ministry through our volunteers. 

Beginning at midnight on December 2, 2014, GBGM is matching the first $1 million in donations made through the Advance, up to $2,500 per donor. Your generous donation will help support our ministry of empowering and equipping volunteers for the short-term mission field.

Words: Susan Kim | Photos: UMVIM, SEJ and ARM

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