Top 10 Tips for Volunteering
Volunteering is about more than just giving up a few hours or days of your time. It's a way for you to bring glory to God by utilizing the skills and talents He has blessed you with. You get to connect with people and cultures outside your own, and in the process, discover more about the world God created. Volunteering is an exciting experience that carries with it a multitude of blessings and memories for the person who decides to serve their neighbor in Christ-like love. We want you to have the best volunteering experience possible, which is why we have pulled together our top ten tips for volunteering.
Top 10 tips for Volunteering
1. Be a Learner
When you were little, everything was new and exciting. The questions were never-ceasing, and curiosity was a way of life. When you volunteer, we recommend reviving some of your old childlike wonder. Everyone you meet can teach you something new, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and really get to know their story.
2. Be flexible
It can almost be guaranteed that things will not go as planned. Be ready for anything and try to see the adventure in it all. Sitting by the side of the road for 5 hours with a flat tire could be the perfect opportunity to really get to know your fellow volunteers or the local people.
3. Seek the unknown
We’ll admit that stepping outside your comfort zone can be intimidating at first. We encourage you to not let your fear of the unknown stop you from experiencing something new and exciting. Seek the unknown, try new things, be bold and brave!
4. Be humble
Being humble doesn't mean thinking less of yourself, it means thinking of yourself less. When you volunteer you are there not for yourself, but for others. Along with that, remember that you don’t know everything and that just because something is different, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
In all things, God reminds us to pray. Pray when you are happy about your experiences, pray when you are uncertain or afraid. Pray for those you are serving and those you are serving with. Pray for our partner congregation and pray for the community.
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
6. Bring encouragement
Sometimes you might be the answer to someone’s prayer. Perhaps your teammates or hosts are struggling and need encouragement. When you build others up with kind words, you are showing Jesus’ love to those around you.
7. Look for the helpers
It can be challenging to know where to begin when it comes to volunteering. If you want to make an impact, take a look at what others around you are doing. Look at the people who are making a difference and follow their lead.
8. Have zero expectations
Ah, expectations. While imagining the perfect volunteer trip can be exciting, avoid turning those expectations into demands and absolutes. Whether your trip is one where everything goes as planned or one where things simply don’t, you can learn from every situation.
Take some time to learn about the culture of the community in which you will be serving. When the pre-trip orientation happens, take it seriously, be a learner, and be curious.
10. Focus on Jesus
Through it, all, remain focused on the most important thing—connecting people to Jesus. Take time each day to center yourself on this objective. God has led you to this volunteer trip for a reason and He will be with you through it all.
There's a reason you have been given your particular set of skills and talents. God gave you the gifts that he did to be a blessing to others. To be His hands and His feet to those in need, to be vehicles of His love and grace in this world. When you volunteer you make a difference in the lives of others and in your own life as well.
Now is your time to make a difference.