The mission of Volunteers In Service is to empower Christians to join Christ’s work in their community. We believe that through God’s grace, He calls the church to humbly love, serve, and share meaningfully the hope found in knowing Jesus Christ.
VIS trains and equips deacons to carry out their role of mobilizing their congregation to serve. God calls Christians to be stewards of their time, talents and treasures. When deacons fulfill their calling of mobilizing the church to serve, they are giving Christians opportunities to use their time and talents for service to the Lord.
Oftentimes deacons feel forced to serve in a reactive role when they serve those who come to the church door with immediate needs. Although those needs are important, and give the church great opportunities to share the love of Jesus, it is equally as important that deacons put together a plan to guide the process of intentionally connecting congregational members to their community for the purpose of building Christ’s kingdom.
Through a partnership with Volunteers In Service, churches are given the opportunity to connect with neighbors who have been referred for assistance. Many times this type of connection serves as an entry point to deeper conversations and relationships that often lead to conversations about faith.
Below are several examples where willing church volunteers have met needs but more importantly impacted lives for Christ through relationships.
- David had surgery on his broken ankle and is homebound. During his recovery he fell, broke ribs and bruised his kidney. This left him wheelchair bound for three months. A small group of young couples came into David's life to support him. They helped with cleaning and errands but more importantly they have spent time with David playing cards, talking, and having pizza. David struggles with depression and his spirits have been greatly lifted because of this group's caring attention to him during this recovery time. Romans 12:13 "When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality."
- Kristen is a 48-year old single mother of two teenage boys, and all have muscular dystrophy. As the disease has progressed, Kristen has become unable to do simple household chores. Kristen recognized she needed more help but wanted help that still allowed her as much independence as possible. Volunteers from three churches have responded to assist Kristen. A couple who offer her friendship and assistance, two young women in their early 20’s who assist her with household chores weekly and a group of high school boys who are assisting with chores but more importantly spending time with Kristen’s boys. The young women see Kristen as a great role model and mentor, the couple enjoys sharing life stories with Kristen and the high school group is sharing a meal together and getting to know the boys.
- Bryan was referred to VIS after he had surgery on both of his legs. A couple from a nearby church embraced Bryan by assisting with laundry, light housekeeping and minor home repairs. Soon the couple came every week assisting Bryan with his physical needs, but more importantly with his social needs by building a friendship with him. Bryan's desire was to connect to a church and through this friendship began attending their church. 1 John 3:18 (MSG) “My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let’s practice real love."
- Sam and I were sitting on his porch after I had mowed his lawn, a weekly project. I asked him if he knew Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. His response was that he HOPED so, but wasn't sure of his salvation. So I shared with him Romans 10:9-10 "If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" and followed it with verse 10. Sam responded, "But you don't know my past." I told him, he didn't know my past either but that our old sinful nature was nailed to the cross at Calvary. With that, we prayed together to confirm his salvation which is sealed and covered with blood of Jesus.
- Kim and Joanne began their journey six years ago as strangers and today describe each other as good friends who are mutually blessed through the time they spend together! They enjoy chatting and laughing, comforting each other when they shed tears and share Bible stories and pray. Joanne responds, “…I still visit with Kim and I love every minute of it. I feel privileged to share with her (scripture and prayer time). Her husband is home, recuperating from surgery, so now I am getting to know him as well.”
- Mary was notified by her homeowner’s insurance company that if repairs were not made to the exterior of her home, she would no longer be covered. The repairs were significant and Mary had just had her hours at work reduced. Also, she had just replaced her roof, using most all of her available resources. VIS sent out a request for assistance. Volunteers from two neighborhood churches organized the project and recruited 17 additional volunteers from their churches to help. Mary also was a participant in helping, and after three months of working together, all the repairs were completed. Furthermore, not long after the project began, Mary started visiting one of the churches and has decided to pay it forward by assisting with projects either at church or through VIS. Ephesians 4:16, "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and build itself up in love, as each part does its work."
If you are interested in serving through Volunteers In Service or learning more about how VIS works, please connect with Bernita Tuinenga, VIS Director, at [email protected].