I read an interesting article awhile back that got me to thinking about giving to others or to an organization. Not monetarily, but when we choose to help by chairing a committee, giving someone a ride, setting the coffee out on Sunday mornings, setting up the Sanctuary.
This article was written by a woman who doesn’t like the word volunteer and I read it and thought, a like-minded person like me! I’ve never liked the word “volunteer”. And especially in these last years of my life when I’ve been ministering and chaplaining, I have found it increasingly inadequate. Now this author calls herself a Progressive Christian so there is where our paths diverge, but it was so encouraging to read another minister’s article that held my same beliefs. This past Sunday in my sermon I took note of my annoyance with this word. And this Christian minister spoke of how when her husband looks after the children when she’s away, others refer to him as babysitting and her retort is you can’t babysit your own kids. And that’s the same way I feel about congregations. We aren’t volunteering to keep our Sanctuary clean, we’re cleaning our own spiritual home. Volunteering seems more business related – we volunteer sometimes at our jobs or for non-profits, but that doesn’t seem very spiritual. This is our spiritual home. When we give service here at Mission Peak UU it means something more. We are more like a family so it feels more like we are engaged with our family.
In my sermon on Sunday I said, Stop using the word volunteer. We are giving service to this community and when we do, it comes from our heart and not as an obligation. Giving service brings compassion for others, giving service can bring out the passion you have for a project or a cause, giving service offers you an opportunity to give back to others, to forward a cause, and will give you the satisfaction and happiness that maybe you’ve long been craving.
Volunteers many times only do it once, they are more like spontaneous, obligatory offerings of service for a certain cause or organization. Giving service however offers a deeper connection to community, it comes from the heart. We feel good about what we’ve done, it’s not an obligation but an opportunity to give back to something we’ve gotten so much richness from.
That’s how I would like us to view giving service here at Mission Peak. It’s not an obligation, but such an amazing opportunity to connect spiritually, to offer our gifts and talents not just once, but many times and to see how it connects us to this larger family – this congregation. Think of this place as home, your spiritual home.
I hope you all can begin to view giving service in this way. It will be remarkable what rewards you yourself will receive and it will be remarkable for the rest of the congregation to receive these gifts from you. Let’s banish the word volunteer from our vocabulary as it just doesn’t fit the spiritual wellness we are striving for here. See how you can give service and see what your heart feels like after.
Blessings to you all,