I just read an interesting blog about why churches find it difficult to attract volunteers. (click HERE to read).
One of the most important ways I changed the Social Justice program when I arrived here six years ago was to frame all our great programs and projects within a “task force model.” Rather than a “Social Justice Council” meeting for no apparent reason, separate groups meet only if there is a goal-driven purpose to do so. This increased productivity, excitement, friendships formed via camaraderie, and most importantly, we have more successfully met our vision.
Ah, but what exactly is the mission and vision of Neighborhood Church’s Social Justice Program? It is so varied. We have fed the homeless for decades, built houses in Mexico for over a decade, beautified public schools for half a decade; we tutor and coach kids, advocate for immigrants, religious tolerance, affordable housing, marriage equality, LGBTQ kids, the environment; we launched a non-profit that provides all manner of skills-based volunteering opportunities, and the list goes on. Not to mention all the educating and fund-raising we have done.
In fact, we can divide all the great work we do into four categories: direct service, advocacy and witness, education, and fund-raising. That is the doing of it all. Is it possible to articulate the vision that all this doing wants to create?
Come find out at our first Social Justice Summit September 29th, when we unveil our new vision and mission statements. As we move forward, we will also be celebrating our successes, and acknowledging the great work of all our volunteers. In my estimation, the totality of our Social Justice programs engage easily at least 350 of our members and friends each year. While we always seek new volunteers, we are not hurting for them in our Social Justice Program, thanks to the talented, dedicated and focused work of our lay-leaders, who help make volunteering attractive, rewarding and effective. You walk our talk, and honor one of Unitarian Universalism’s most enduring tributes to our forebears: “What they dreamed, be ours to do.”
See you at the Summit!
Rev. Hannah Petrie