During the summer of 1986, I was working in a grocery store while attending college. This job came with the unbelievable benefit of one unpaid week of vacation per year. So when July came I had a decision to make. Should I go to the beach for sun, fun and relaxation or should I make the strategic decision to teach 2nd graders in Vacation Bible School?
I did not realize it at the time but this one single decision put me on a path I would continue on to this very day. With the exception of two paid staff positions, I have served as a volunteer at my local church for the next 29 years.
As I reflect on the last three decades of my life, the following are 10 Benefits Of Being A Volunteer At A Local Church:
1. Volunteering At My Church Has Given My Life Greater Purpose
There are a numerous important causes in the world and quality places to volunteer your time. But for me, I made the strategic decision to serve at my church because it was there where my efforts could result in someone’s life being changed for eternity. It is in a local church where a person could be made brand new and become redeemed.
2. Volunteering At My Church Has Given Me Broader Perspective
Serving others has allowed me to focus on larger issues and others rather than always on myself.
3. Volunteering At My Church Has Given Me Lifelong Friendships
There is a unique relational bond which comes from “being in the foxhole” with someone and serving together. I have made literally hundreds of personal connections and lifelong friends because of volunteering at my church.
4. Volunteering At My Church Has Given Me A Healthier Self-Image
It may sound egotistical but there is a healthy sense of pride which comes from serving others and not being called to a lesser task. You just feel better about yourself when your life matters and makes a difference.
5. Volunteering At My Church Helps Others
Living an internally focused life benefits no one. Serving others relieves suffering, benefits the under-resourced, meets the needs of the marginalized, provides hope, and improves the quality of people’s lives.
6. Volunteering At My Church Has Made Me More Generous
Generosity is time, talent and treasure. Church volunteers give sacrificially of their time and talent BEFORE giving sacrificially of their treasure. It is a sequential process. By being generous with my time and talent, financial generosity has been a natural outflow.
7. Volunteering At My Church Taught Me How To Make Better Decisions
When I used to teach Sunday School in college, I could have gone out every Saturday night with the guys. However, I learned early in the process the best decisions come when you give up what is good (Saturday night with the guys) for what is best (studying on Saturday nights to serve others on Sunday mornings).
8. Volunteering At My Church Makes Me A Better Thinker
Being a quality volunteer requires sacrifice, study and preparation. Volunteering at my church has made me smarter.
9. Volunteering At My Church Has Given Me Lasting Influence
My daughter knows nothing other than her parents serving others. A privilege I never planned when I took my first volunteer role in 1986 was one day I would be passing on a legacy of service to the next generation.
10. Volunteering At My Church Will One Day Result In A Greater Reward
Like many of you, I look forward to the day when I hear my Heavenly Father say “Well done my good and faithful servant”.
At sporting events those in the stands pay to watch the game. Those on the field get paid! The same is true for church volunteers.
If you are not volunteering in your local church, it is time to get on the field and start getting paid with these incredible benefits I have listed.
Brian Dodd is the Director of New Ministry Relationships for Injoy Stewardship Solutions, and author of The Two Minute Leader