I know I've written about it before and I'm pretty adament about it, but last week I volunteered at my daughters school and literally, it was some of the best contact work I've ever done. Here's why...
- I got to see my girls. Seeing your children in a different environment and setting is always enlightening because you get to see them interact with their friends and teachers in a way unlike any other time. School is THEIR territory, not mine so seeing them in their own environment was great.
- I ran into several students from the neighborhood that I know and they got to see a father (not a mother - mothers are always in the school helping) as a positive contributor to the school. So many fathers are busy at work and don't have the flexibility in their schedules like ministers do. Mothers are in the schools regularly so having a father in their contributing and involved is always nice. And, just like seeing my own children, I get to see neighborhood kids in a different environment and see how they act at school.
- I had good conversations with teachers and other administrators. This wasn't my 1st time volunteering and it certainly won't be my last so going to school I got to connect with other teachers (all who know what I do for a living) and administrators and catch up on them and their families. Developing those stronger bonds is always good in breaking down barriers between what they may think about ministers and churches. The more I interact and get to know them, the more likely they will think of me and my church if/when something hurtful or tragic happens at the school or in their lives.
- I saw other parents from around the neighborhood and got to talk to them. As parents came in to volunteer and eat lunch with their own children, I got to say, "hi" and talk to them about life in general. Simple conversations over and over again go a long way.
My hope is that times like these are not "wasted" time as I have "real" work to do in my office or out with teens. Rather, it all fits into my plan to minister to families, especially families within my neighborhood which is about 5-7 minutes away from the Church. As I did contact work with multiple groups of people, the more interaction I get with them, the more I earn the right to be heard by them. And, the more I earn their trust and confidence as they begin to share and trust me with their lives.
Contact work is contact work as long as you continue to build new relationships, develop the relationships you currently have and continually earn the right to be heard with them all. I can't wait to see how all these relationships I am developing with elementary school aged children now help the growth of my "ministry" when they get into middle school and high school.
So what do you think? What has been some of your best contact work experience? TAKE A MINUTE right now and post your best contact work you have ever done and why so that we can all learn and benefit.
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