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Transforming Volunteers

Volunteerism is up. Can churches put them to meaningful work?

During the 2005 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Washington, D.C., rocker Jon Bon Jovi declared, "I've done it all. But I got more of a rush when I went to the Northern Home for Children in North Philly and built a playground."

Yes, volunteerism is becoming hip, but it goes beyond trendy. In 2004, 64.5 million Americans volunteered, an increase of nearly 5 million since 2002.

As non-church people look for a good way to serve, they may see a church's community-based projects as viable options. Rolling Hills Community Church in Tuatalin, Oregon, found this true during their 2005 Community Food Drive.

"We invited our people to ask their neighbors, co-workers, and friends if they would be willing to fill a sack—as opposed to our people simply going to the store to buy the needed supplies," says Monte Schmidt. Together, church and community gathered over 77,000 pounds of food to be distributed throughout three counties. Over 1,600 church attendees collected food, but 7,047 ...

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