Step Up And Shine Your Light
That feeling sinks in deep. The pastor just mentioned that the church needs volunteers to help with a project. Something inside you jumped with excitement, but at the same time, something else jumped with dread. We all want to serve, but many of us afraid to step up. What if people find out you’re not good at something? What if they think we’re an imposter?
An old adage that is often attributed to Mark Twain reminds us that it’s better for people to think we’re a fool than to open our mouths and remove all doubt. The trouble for Christians is, plenty of biblical support exists for opening not just mouths, but also hands and hearts, in service to one another. Galatians 6:2, Hebrews 13:16, and Romans 12:13 all speak to helping out those in need and Jesus explains why in Matthew 5:16. “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.”
If people are reluctant to volunteer, the staff at Peoria Rescue Ministries completely understands. Recently, Lori Skinner, PRM volunteer coordinator sat down and discussed volunteering. It turns out that its not as hard as many people think. Skinner states that PRM’s discipleship program that is becoming more and more systemetized as the programs are evaluated and improved continually by staff.
You don’t have to have any specific biblical training to come alongside a guy and help him out
“Our biggest need is for mentors,” Skinner began. “Somebody to come along side our men that are in the program, do a little bit of discipleship, go through a book we provide them, weekly meetings, accountability, a friendship that would really last throughout their time with us and beyond that. That’s really our biggest need.”
Finding the right kind of person isn’t only a matter of personalities, but also practicality. In a fast-paced world where schedules are sometimes blocked out down to the minute, timing can be a key factor. When asked who the perfect candidate for volunteering might be, Skinner counted the first qualification as a heart for the Lord, but closely following it was flexibility.
A theology degree wasn’t mentioned, and with good reason. Many guests have not been Christians for long, and the program’s discipleship curriculum was formulated to be easy to understand, as well as to teach.
“You don’t have to have any specific biblical training to come alongside a guy and help him out,” explains Skinner. “We provide the materials. In some instances, you’re learning together.”
Along with the timing challenge of needing to be available during the week, there is also the consideration of the duration of the commitment.
“We do ask for a year commitment,” says Skinner, “which is how long our guys are in the program. If it naturally develops into a friendship for years to come, that’s fantastic. We would then ask that this mentor start again with another of our guys.”
Skinner concludes that the important factor is consistency in availability is the bigger factor. While many have hearts to serve, sometimes the timing isn’t right. But when it all falls into place, hearts are transformed, disciples grow, and people see the good being done, and praise God for it, just as Jesus had in mind.