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November 3, 2011

For Volunteers

by tbuegler

I get this question all of the time:  “Should volunteers join the Network?”

Here’s my answer:  “Yes.”

And then come the “but” comments…

  • But it’s kind of expensive
  • But they don’t need the same kind of networking
  • But I can get the info and just pass it along to them
  • But we don’t have the budget for that
Here’s my answer:  “Yes.”
The vision for the Network is one of a broad-based, diverse community where the Holy Spirit brings personal spiritual renewal, continuing education and opportunities to Network.  This vision understands the words “broad-based” and “diverse” in their richest form:  Ethnicity and culture, geographic, type of congregation, style of ministry and professional and volunteer.
We are always asking ourselves if the resources the Network provides are appropriate for volunteers.  The answer has always been “yes.”  We know that within the ELCA there are far more volunteers than there are professionals.  And while there are some aspects to the Network which are focused on professionals (like the salary survey), there are many that apply to both the volunteer and the professional.

So we do ask the volunteer youth ministry leader to join the Network, to come to the Extravaganza and to participate in the other aspects of the Network.  We believe that we are a stronger Network because our membership is diverse in this way.

And so here’s what we do to try and make the Network and the Extravaganza accessible to the volunteer:  We work hard to make the Extravaganza as affordable as possible.  We know that your continuing education (or wherever you find your funding) is valuable, and we’re committed to a great event at as affordable a cost as possible.   And we believe that the resources that come from the Network and the “E” are of value to the volunteer, and the results of our evaluations seem to bear that out.

We hear things like:

  • “We never knew these resources existed!”
  • “There is so much out there”
  • “These workshops helped me re-think my whole ministry”
  • “I want more training!”

Volunteers love coming to the Extravaganza.

So yes, if you are a volunteer, please join us in New Orleans this February.  If you are a professional who works with volunteers in your congregations, consider trying to figure out a way to bring them along.  Yes, it’s a big-ticket item, we know that.  But we believe in raising the bar for ministry across the church and we believe that if your congregation is able to invest in them in this way, the results in growth for your ministry will be exponential.

Blessings!

Todd

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