Are you currently using your gifts and talents to serve in your community? This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and it is the perfect time to talk about finding a place to plug in and be a blessing to others. Last week, I blogged about how our happiness tends to increase when we genuinely serve others. This week, I want to talk a little bit more about how to jump into volunteering and serve effectively.
There are countless volunteer opportunities around us. Whether you are a busy parent or a business person or an empty-nester, there are simple and meaningful ways each of us can reach out and help.
Begin by considering the issues that tug at your heartstrings. What is your passion? Ask the Lord to lead you to the place where you can best use your God-given abilities to make a difference. You may want to consider serving together as a family. There is no better time than the present to make a decision to step out of your comfort zone and into the lives of others in need.
Certainly we want our time of service to be worthwhile and genuinely helpful. I want to offer three ways to increase our effectiveness as we volunteer.
- Consistency – Let’s show up on time and be there each time we are scheduled to serve. We are not just volunteers, rather we are an important part of the whole process. Our help is valuable and the organization in which we serve depends on us to be there. Also, it is easy to do a one-and-done service project that makes us feel good for a moment, but true change (both for us and those we serve) happens when we commit to being there on a regular basis.
- Humility – Pride says, “I’m going to go in and fix these people because they are broken.” Humility says, “I’m broken. They are broken. We all are broken in different ways. We all need love.” When we serve with a heart of humility, we help others recognize their value, rather than making them feel like “a project” or helpless.
- Connectivity – We build a connection and give dignity to others by listening to them. Ask questions and pay attention to their heart and their pain. We must also be vulnerable and real and be willing to share a little of our own struggles as well. Relationships are developed not only by what we do, but by the way we listen and the way we speak.
True service is not simply to make us feel better about ourselves, but rather to impact the lives of others in a positive way. The apostle Paul wrote, “Each of us should not only look out for our own interests, but also the interest of others.” May each of us find the place that we can joyfully give a little of our heart to elevate and love another person.
For more information about joining the amazing team of volunteers at Engage Positive Parenting Initiative go to: www.EngageParenting.org