Training to Volunteer
Why in the world would you attend a 2 ½-hour training in order to volunteer by pulling weeds or serving a pot-luck dinner? These are things you do every day in your normal life; what kind of training could possibly be necessary?
These are the thoughts that might be running through your head when you learn that, in order to engage with our friends at Lincoln Village Ministry, you must attend a 2 ½-hour training on Wednesday, April 19th. I understand the question, and to answer it I must address WHY we engage not only with Lincoln’s Evolve partnership, but with any ministry in our community or around the world.
We seek to express to others the grace that has been shown to us in Christ. This is why we as believers engage in any ministry opportunity whether in our own neighborhood, across town, or across the world. We have been rescued from certain, eternal death and have been made part of God’s kingdom—a kingdom that reflects the values of its King. In this kingdom the vulnerable are protected, the lowly raised up, and the broken are made whole. So you’re saying our motivation is the gospel; that’s great. I hear that every Sunday. Why do I need more gospel training to mow lawns or host a pot-luck?!
In our talk about the gospel and its effect on everything we do, we can sometimes neglect to consider deeply the life-altering affects of the Fall that make our rescue so necessary and surprising. The Fall really did break everything and everyone, and it did so at the deepest level. There are no quick fixes for the brokenness in our lives or the lives of others. But while we acknowledge this on a theological level, we can very often deal with the pragmatic symptoms of this brokenness as though there is a simple solution. Your marriage is falling apart? Read this book, and do a better job “loving” or “submitting.” You lack material things necessary to sustain your family? Get a better job or spend less money on _____.
The trouble is that the broken marriage or lack of material goods is a symptom of the deeper brokenness—broken relationship with God, with ourselves, with others, and with the rest of creation (I know you’re groaning; you’ve heard this, but bear with me). The reason we require training to engage in what seem like simple ministry tasks with others is that we need to be honest about how deep the brokenness goes and where it shows up. In my own life sin most often shows up as self-reliance, pride, and materialism. For others it shows up as laziness, co-dependence, or abuse. All of these sins, whether self-reliance or laziness, pride or abusive behavior, require the restoration of those four key relationships before real transformation can happen.
“Yes,” you say, “but pulling weeds will not transform anyone’s relationship.” Perhaps, but maybe it will transform your relationship with God. Maybe you’ll see the smallness and inefficiency of your work pulling weeds and you will realize that your Heavenly Father doesn’t love you because of how many weeds you’ve pulled at all! He loves you because of His Son, and then He graciously lets you be a part of showing that same love to others through the simple act of pulling weeds. If that happens, you and your ministry will be changed forever.
However, it is important to note that this training will explore in depth some of the unique ways sin and brokenness show up in low-income communities. We will look at the effects of childhood traumas and the culture of generational poverty—both of which profoundly affect many of our neighbors in Lincoln Village. We will learn how the gospel shapes our ministry in those contexts, and we will be given best-practice methods for engaging with our friends at Lincoln Village Ministry.
Lincoln Village Ministry Training
At Southwood • Wednesday, April 19 • 5:00-7:30pm
You may pre-order a Jason’s Deli Box dinner for $5 per person or $20 per family.
• Childcare is available through elementary school, but we must have an RSVP to reserve dinner and childcare.
• Training will begin promptly at 5:00pm and runs the full 2 ½ hours, so please plan to arrive on time so that we can honor the 7:30pm deadline.
PLEASE NOTE that this training is required if you wish to serve with Lincoln Village Ministry’s Evolve residents in any capacity, whether mowing lawns or hosting dinners.