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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"Volunteering" (Leith Anderson and Jill Fox)

TITLE: Volunteering: A Guide to Serving in the Body of Christ
AUTHOR: Leith Anderson and Jill Fox
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015, (112 pages).

The Church is the Body of Christ made of people, not a building made of bricks. Volunteerism is essential to the running of the Church. No Church can every hire enough people to run all the ministries. It either does not have the financial muscle nor administrative resource to mange or of them. Even for large churches, there is always a need to have a pool of unpaid individuals who feel a calling to serve and to follow after the footsteps of Jesus who showed the way to serve rather than to be served. Written as a guide for those who want to serve, this is more like a "companion guide" to another book entitled: "The Volunteer Church" plus a few more initiatives like:

  • Giving past volunteers an additional motivation to volunteer again
  • Gently persuade the fence-sitters to take the plunge toward volunteering
  • Be affirmed once again on the merits of volunteering
  • To empower volunteers to find the right fit
  • To train others to volunteer
Volunteering is like the decision on what to do with the coin. We can spend it in any way we want but we can only spend it once. When we volunteer, we invest our time and resources for a cause larger than self. The authors affirm that volunteering is a step of faith. It also grows our faith. Anyone who is bored with the routine and the monotonous lifestyle, volunteering is an excellent way to start something afresh and to make a difference. 

There is a guide on finding our fit via discovering of our spiritual gifts. Looking at 1 Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12; Ephesians 4; and 1 Peter 4, the authors give readers some assessment questions to help discover them. They advocate teamwork highly and provide ten hints for leading teams. Storytelling is also important to cultivate a culture of volunteerism. It is about sharing and growing together. It is about learning to spread the joy of service via recruiting. Recruiting is so important that everyone ought to be doing that. Thus, volunteering is not simply one to one relationship. It is like discipleship where one teaches another to do the same, to recruit, to train, and to influence others. Readers also learn of tips on how to avoid burnout.  Readers will also read about stories of people who serve but are under-appreciated and unnoticed. Some many even presume that servants such as Sunday School teachers are paid to do what they do. Yet, the benefits are often not monetary but of something more valuable. It is about unity. It is about serving one another in the Name of Christ. It is about growing spiritually and helping others to do the same. Essentially, it is about doing and being Church. There are also health benefits to volunteering!

Written as a quick guide to volunteering, Anderson and Fox have distilled the essentials in a tiny footprint. Volunteering is the life of any church and I would strongly recommend all laypersons, leaders, and anyone concerned about unity and teamwork to get this book. It is best to read this book together with the main text, "The Volunteering Church."

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Zondervan Academic and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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