As a father of elementary school aged children, I have tried to make it a priority to be a volunteer in their school. Honestly, there have been many times where I have felt like I shouldn't be doing this because my "job" needs me to be at work. But, this year in particular, I have found that volunteering in the schools, whether it is a teachers aid or helping out the office personel, is a HUGE ministry opportunity. In fact, I would venture to say that EVERY Family, Children and Youth Minister HAS to find ways to volunteer in the schools. Here is why:
- Schools need help. Believe it or not, not all parents can volunteer. In part because their jobs do not give them the flexibility or freedom to do that. Whether we believe it or not, "ministry" jobs are very flexible. In large part because we are always on-call. So schools are always looking for volunteers. This is a great way for you to serve your community.
- I get to know the teachers and school officials. In the times that I have volunteered I have met many teachers and have had great discussions with the office admins. I have seen it to be a great opportunity to meet the teachers and school workers and get to know them and their lives. Seriously, in my last time in the school, I got to talk to my daughter's teacher about her ailing mom and I talked to the office ladies about church, underaged drinking and sex-ed. I didn't orchestrate this. I would have never called my daughter's teacher to talk about her mom. It just happened because I was there. IT IS RELATIONAL MINISTRY!
- I got to see all my girls and say hi to them. It was a great connect with my girls in a non “home” environment. It was also great to see how they act away from home
- I got to see some of my girls friends too. I was able to say "hi" to them and ask them how their day was. Reality is children love to be recognized and if I recognize them by saying a simple "hi", there is a happiness that follows from that recognition.
- I even got to talk real "ministry" by talking about "Orange" with one of the office volunteers. I found out while I was there that she used to be the Children's Director at a local church and we talked about the pros of switching to “Orange”. She may even come in to talk to the Family Ministry Department about good "storytelling" to elementary aged students. How cool is that???
So here’s reality. Not just as parents, but as MINISTERS, that IS part of our job. It was a win, win, win, win…for me to be there. I may not have been in my “office” but I was working.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Experiences? Post a comment and let the discussion begin so that we can all benefit from it.
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