Volunteers are the catalyst behind any effective ministry, nonprofit, or church. They extend the work, the reach, beyond just the doors of the facility. They talk about the work with their families. They advertise for you. They are passionate and work hard because of it.
Aside from moving through different seasons of life, many volunteers leave their position because they feel they are undervalued or underutilized. Therefore, it is important that we train volunteers well and use them!
- Get to know your volunteers. How many children do they have? Where do they work? What are they passionate about? What is their cat’s name? People want to know you care. They want to know they aren’t just a number.
- Learn the skill set of your volunteers. Maybe you have an immediate need for data entry at your organization and someone steps forward to do that. However, if we make the intentional effort of learning the skillset of the volunteer that serves, we may find that they are gifted in graphic design, Bible teaching, website development, etc. We like to get a resume on every volunteer to help us with this task.
- Have a plan. Please. Have you ever volunteered with a church or at an event with dozens of other people? Maybe there was a big push to get volunteers at this big 5K Fundraising Event and so you showed up and found that most of your time was spent standing around with nothing to do. Ugh. I have volunteered countless times when I literally was digging for something to do. Don’t let this be your volunteers. Thoroughly plan the needs you have for your program. Do you need more prayer warriors? Babysitters? Food service team? Facebook gurus? Whatever your needs are have them listed. Assign volunteer coordinators and leaders to different teams to help with organization.
- Praise your volunteers. People go where they are valued. Take time to take them to dinner. Take time to host a private lunch for them. Text them. Call them. Let them know that their service is important to your ministry.
- More IS merrier. Never, never, never tell a potential volunteer that you have nowhere to use them. Sometimes this volunteer opportunity is the very thing they need to move into a leadership role. Maybe it is the very thing God has called them to do. Maybe this volunteer was called to launch a single moms program in another church and this service will give them the confidence to do so. Volunteering gives value. Don’t miss an opportunity to bless someone else with the opportunity to serve.
Jennifer Maggio is the founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. TLSM has helped more than 1200 churches in 19 countries better minister to their single mothers. She is the award-winning author of several books and has a heart to see single parents and hurting women living a life of total freedom in Christ. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
You woke up this morning in a great mood. Everything seems to be going your way. Those new shoes you bought this past weekend have added a little bounce in your step. You are convinced your jeans make you look ten pounds lighter today. Your hair is doing just what you want it to, finally. You’re feeling confident.
And then, it happens - whatever it is. Maybe you notice that your waitress at lunch is gorgeous. She’s thinner than you. Suddenly, those jeans that made you look ten pounds thinner, you now hate. Maybe there’s a new girl at work who is receiving countless accolades, and you’ve been doing your job well for five years without so much as a thank you. Or maybe you have been super-grateful for your 1992 Honda Civic, until a tall, blond chick rolls up next to you at the red light in her 2014 Mercedes.
What does she have that I don’t? Rarely would any of us say that aloud, but we have surely all thought it. We are in constant comparison of what someone else has and what we don’t. Comparison is a joy-stealer. It’s a bottomless pit of self-doubt and self-deprecation. Comparison is coveting, and it replaces gratitude. It allows us to turn our thoughts selfishly inward. I wish I had her body, her job, her life, her husband. The truth is when we struggle with comparing our lives to others, her life, her job, and her husband would still never be enough. The grass would always be greener somewhere else.
If you find yourself in that pit, here’s some Biblical wisdom on how to handle it:
1. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5
In other words, do what God has called you to do. Run your race. Stay on your path. Focus on doing your thing well rather than focusing on where someone else’s path is taking them.
2. Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. Philippians 3:1
Genuinely rejoice with others when they get blessed. When your friend gets married, be thankful for her new spouse that you know she prayed for, rather than focusing on your own loneliness. When a neighbor gets a new car, rejoice with them. Be excited when you see God move in someone’s life. He has great plans for you, too. It may look different. It may be on a different timeline. But the plans are great, nonetheless.
3. I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Philipppians 4:11-12
Learn to be thankful for what God has put in our hands, not what we think we should have. Trust that God has our best interest at heart. He knew us before we were ever born. He chose us. He loves us.
Comparison causes division. It causes us to dislike the pretty waitress serving us, the new girl at work, and the Mercedes-owner. We all have our own crosses to bear. We all have triumphs and defeats, joys and heartaches. Don’t secretly wish for her life. Be filled with gratitude for your own.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who has a passion to see the body of Christ live life in total freedom. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. She has been featured in hundreds of media venues. For more information, visit http://www.jennifermaggio.com.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance. Col. 3:23-24
Have you ever been somewhere and you weren’t sure you were supposed to be there? Maybe you were new to a church and you couldn’t find your Bible study group. Or maybe your children are new to a school and you are trying to find their classrooms. Whatever the case, there is certain awkwardness when you stumble into a new environment, unsure and nervous.
Lack of planning and preparation in ministry can be similar. You don’t know where you are, what you are doing, or if you are really supposed to be there.
Ministry is serious. It’s God’s work. It’s about bringing others into relationship with our Savior. God works through people. He works through us – you and me. We are examples of his grace. We show others God’s love through how we treat them. Ministry is about Heaven or Hell. It’s not to be taken lightly. And make no mistake. Whether you work full-time at a church or simply volunteer on the weekends, you are in ministry. We all are.
Taking time to plan and prepare for your ministry assignment is important. If you are leading a Bible study, pray, seek, plan, pray, read, re-read, make notes, and practice your lesson. Those who have come to be part of your program, class, Bible study, or support group deserve as much. If you are serving on the greeter’s team at Sunday services, then arrive early, spend time in prayer, and make preparations to do it with excellence. Are you babysitting children in the nursery? Prepare a great craft or activity.
Are you launching a new program in your church? Take the time to plan the logistics. Take the time to think through the what-ifs in hopes of being better-prepared to handle challenges that will surely come. Take the time to do some online research. Be sure to attend training classes, if possible.
Some of the worst support groups or connect groups or classes that I’ve been part of were not because the leader wasn’t gifted to share or teach, not because they weren’t fully capable, but because they hadn’t taken the time to prepare.
Jennifer Maggio is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is an award-winning author of several books and has appeared in countless media venues. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
There are few holidays that are more difficult for a single mother than Father’s Day. For this day highlights great lack in many single mothers' lives. The endless questions begin to flow.
“Why don’t my children have the loving father they deserve?”
“Why do I have to do everything and he does nothing?”
“Why must I struggle financially, because he chooses to pay no child support?”
Father’s Day could easily point out all the things you do not have, that your child does not have. It is easy to dwell on the failed marriage or relationship, on everything that could’ve and should’ve been, but now isn’t - the lack of the happily ever after. Many of you may be facing tough questions from your children on this day about why their father isn’t around more.
But may I offer a different perspective?
Rather than focusing on what you lack (or your children lack), focus on what the day represents — an awesome father! Maybe you have never had an awesome earthly father. Maybe you are frustrated because your children lack that, as well. Well, I have good news for you. You have an awesome Heavenly Father….and so do your children! Teach them that. Our Heavenly Father loves us. The Bible says he will NEVER fail us, leave us, or forsake us. His plans for us are to prosper us and to set us on higher ground. He watches over us. He nurtures us and shows us mercy and grace. He protects us and disciplines us. Isn’t that what a good father does?
Ladies, I cannot explain why you have walked through the hardships you have. But….I do know that God’s timing is perfect. I do know that his ways are mysterious, yet wise. I know that he is your hope, source, refuge, and peace. Your home is not a “broken” one, for if you have chosen to make the Lord the center of your life, then he has completed your family perfectly in this season. You don’t have to live life in limbo waiting on the next season. Live this season fully.
The Lord gives strength, when we are weak. Today, you may find yourself weak, but I want you to know his loves never fails and one day, in his perfect timing, your children will be restored. They will have a loving father and you, a loving husband. Until that day comes, focus on the abundance in your life — the healthy children, the job God has afforded you to provide for your family, the transportation you drive, the friends who love you, etc.
Psalm 23:6 “Surely, your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
Article first appeared on TheLifeofaSingleMom.com.
Note: The Life of a Single Mom Ministries celebrates every father who is parenting his children well, despite a difficult divorce or failed relationship. This article in no way depicts that every single mother lacks an active father in her child’s life, but merely wants to encourage those who are facing such a challenge.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker whose personal story is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She has a passion to see every single mom live the life God intended. For more information, visitwww.jennifermaggio.com.