When I was a teenager, I volunteered at camp every summer. I loved camp. I loved hanging out with the kids, I loved planning games, working in the kitchen, cleaning cabins — it didn’t matter. As long as I was at camp, I was happy. I wasn’t making money, but I loved camp so much that the experience outweighed the $8 an hour I could have been making working at a fast food restaurant every summer.
Some of that camp passion transferred over to my church when I was in college. As soon as I was old enough, I volunteered as a leader for my church youth group. I loved spending Wednesdays with the youth and spending time with the girls or hosting sleepovers at my dorm. Because I enjoyed it so much, it didn’t feel like work.
Since college, I have tended to volunteer in the coffee shops of the two churches I have attended in Colorado. I love hosting people at my home: I enjoy having people over, making food, and helping people feel welcome. Volunteering at the church coffee shop seemed like the best way for me to transfer my hospitality skills to the church. I got to make coffee, visit with newcomers and get to know some of the regulars. At my church in Denver, we started the coffee ministry as a way for people to really connect, talk and get to know one another before or after the service. We wanted it to be more than a cup of hot coffee — we wanted to provide a space for people to connect.
Sometimes the idea of volunteering can feel like a chore or a burden. And, I’ll be honest, sometimes volunteering can be a chore. You are giving your time to serve someone or something. But the good news is that volunteering can be a service and fun when you serve in an area where you are gifted or have interests.
If you’re thinking about serving at your church, find out the different areas of service your church has to offer. Most churches have children’s ministry, hospitality ministries, teaching, leading Bible studies, etc. My church in Denver has a homeless ministry, and the volunteers often are just asked to sit and talk with people while they eat a meal. What’s better than a conversation? If you don’t see an area of service in your church that fits your interests or skills, then see if you can start something new. A lot of times church leadership would love to see new things — they just don’t have the time or manpower to do it on their own. Want to see a philosophy small group at your church? Start one! Do you wish your church had weekly potlucks? See if others are interested and get it going!
Finding ways to serve that fit your interests, skills and gifts not only makes it more enjoyable for you, but it will benefit your church congregation as well.
What are some ways you serve that fit your talents? Or, if you are thinking of serving in your church, what areas are you interested in?