Tending the Ragged Edges

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Maintaining the fabric of your volunteers’ spiritual
lives…

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A beautiful tapestry is so well-made that rather than looking at
the fabric, one sees only the woven images and patterns. One loose
thread pulled is no big deal, but if left untended, soon a large
portion of the tapestry can unravel.

It’s the same with the fabric of our faith. When well-tended,
the amazing image of our faith reflects the love and grace of God.
Yet there are times we can run ragged or feel a little frayed
around the edges.

Just think about all the threads God has woven to create the
tapestry of you — and of all your volunteers. In Genesis 1, we read that we’re created in God’s
image. And Psalm 139:13 says that God formed us and knit
us together in our mother’s womb. The heart and soul of each and
every person is unique and precious. In all of time, there will
never be two people who are exactly alike.

In looking at our volunteers, we’re gazing upon an amazing
tapestry being woven right before our eyes. Their spiritual fabric
and the health of that fabric is what gives them breath and the
energy to live abundantly. The spiritual life of our volunteers,
their walk with God, and their personal relationship with Jesus are
of utmost importance to us as their shepherds.

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All of us have ragged edge times. So let’s explore the following
ways to care for the spiritual fabric of our volunteers.

Love Your Volunteers

Really love them! Love your volunteers with the love of Jesus.
Be genuine, authentic, and real in expressing the value of each
volunteer. What’s their love language? People tend to express and
like to receive love in one or two of five languages: words, gifts,
quality time, affection, or acts of service.

  • Speak love. Words of encouragement, affirmation, and gratitude
    go a long way. Positive comments lift us up and cause us to walk a
    new walk. Listen and watch for times a volunteer touches another
    heart and life. Be there with a note or a comment. Let your
    volunteers know you notice and appreciate their ministry.
  • Give love. A meaningful gift, small token of appreciation, or
    helpful resource is an unexpected touch that lifts the spirit of a
    volunteer. The impact of a simple gift is very powerful. In fact,
    these items are so important that you need to have a line item for
    gifts in your budget.
  • Spend time on love. For people who speak this love language,
    nothing says I love you better than time together. Go out for
    coffee, take a walk together, meet at the park or McDonald’s
    Playland to visit while your kids play. The investment of your time
    is a genuine, specific way to tell volunteers you care about them.
    l Embrace love. A hug, a pat on the back, a handshake, even a high
    five communicates love in this language. So don’t be stingy with
    your affection.
  • Serve love. Never discount the power of a casserole in times of
    need. To a person who speaks this love language, this simple act of
    service is better than getting flowers. Look for practical ways to
    meet needs.

Obviously, to do all this regularly requires commitment and time
— time you may not have. So recruit and empower key people to join
you in looking out for, shepherding, and loving volunteers. If you
empower a team of people to make it their ministry to care for,
assist, and love a group of volunteers, you’ll see volunteers who
are energized — even when life frays their edges.

     

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