United Church of God

FORWARD! The Value of Volunteers

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FORWARD! The Value of Volunteers

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And there they were! Everywhere we looked—in the kitchen, at the waterfront, with every activity and every dorm, running everything from the infirmary to the office—we saw the backbone of the entire camp program: the volunteers!

Without the hundreds of adults who give up a week or more every year to serve at camp, we would never be able to have this incredibly valuable program. They are one of the unsung key elements to its success.

Because so many volunteers are concentrated in one place at one time, the value of volunteerism leaps out at you in the camp environment. But when you think about it, God's people are continually giving of themselves in so many ways, often out of sight, behind the scenes. One cannot help but ask, What kind of Church would we have without the volunteers who freely give of their time, talents and energy day in and day out? We would do well to stop, appreciate and sincerely express gratitude regularly to one another when we see these acts of altruism.

Just consider for a moment, how could you ever measure the value to the Church of all those who give of themselves? As one unknown author wrote, "Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless!" How can I, for example, calculate the value of those Church members who sacrificed countless hours of their lives in 1981 to tirelessly help my mother (and father) as she walked through her "valley of the shadow of death"? Our family will never forget, can never repay and could never put a price on that service. But that's just one of literally thousands of stories.

To ask our treasurer to calculate the monetary value of the voluntary service provided annually by Church members would be to ask the impossible!

But in addition to this type of value, the Church reaps many more intangible, incalculable communal benefits through volunteerism. How much does such serving build unity, trust and friendship; inspire reciprocal behavior in others; and help to instill this valuable quality in our children?

Volunteerism has been defined as "the practice of people working on behalf of others without being motivated by financial or material gain...generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life." It is one of the most fundamental ways we have of inculcating God's give way of life.

As such, it is one of the greatest assets we can ever have. To all of you who volunteer, in ways great and small, visible and invisible, from the bottom of my heart I say, "Thank you!" In an increasingly lawless world growing colder by the day, it is your practicing this give way of life that will keep the Church warm and moving forward. UN