Volunteering has its perks, especially with the help of these loose (but helpful!) guidelines to ensure a positive experience for all.
1. Consider your skills
What comes naturally to you? Do you view one of your talents as so normal that you assume everyone can do it? Could you apply your career skill set to volunteering? Do you have a hobby that keeps you up late because you simply can’t put it down?
Everyone (yes, even your cousin Steve) has been blessed with talents that are useful to others and useful for furthering our Lord’s work. What is normal to you could be greatly needed by a small mission congregation. Don’t sell yourself short – you have vocational skills that are different, but just as necessary to the whole Christian church as what pastors and teachers bring to the table.
2. Hammer out the details
When you connect with a volunteer opportunity, it’s up to you and the church/organization to talk through the details. If you’re helping out on a construction site, do you need to bring your own tools or will they be provided? Are you covering the cost of travel or will the church help pay for it? Every volunteer opportunity will be different, ranging from all travel, meals, and accommodation being covered by you to being fully paid for by the host organization.
3. Try something new
Know your strengths and limitations, but don’t be afraid to try something new. As your mom probably told you, “You won’t know until you try it,” and she was right. Volunteering is like when you finally tried real, homemade spaghetti sauce (upgrading from a jarred brand that rhymes with plague-oo) and suddenly your whole spaghetti world was thrown upside down. Everything you thought you knew no longer applied because… fresh garlic! Onion! Oregano!
Trying something new in the volunteering world is similar to trying something new in the culinary world. You discover a new skill, a new passion, a new way of looking at the world (and your local community). So go ahead – try it. You won’t know until you do.