The Heart of the Church: Volunteers
Keep Your Volunteers Safe
True impact on any given community usually involves the local church, and when the local church is working right, it always includes volunteers. Volunteers are the heart of the church. Volunteerism ranges anywhere from serving in the children’s ministry to constructing buildings in the neighborhood. This range of exposure creates risk and needs adequate protection, not only for the volunteer, but for the church as well.
In high school, I remember volunteering in a very impactful project through my church’s youth ministry. Annually, on a designated weekend, over 1,000 students were tasked with cleaning up the community. Adults then sponsored us on an hourly fee basis. This project called, “Operation Strive” (Students Turning Responsibilities into Valuable Experiences), raised thousands of dollars for the church while also serving the community.
However, precautions and intentional planning was always needed. Leadership and safety measures were keys to reducing the risk of first and third party injuries. The projects performed usually included landscaping next to busy roadways and intersections, painting in public areas, feeding the elderly, washing two-story high windows and renovating broken down buildings. Dangerous operations that needed well thought out supervision and planning. Some of the safety measures included:
- Interviewing and assigning qualified leaders
- Requiring proper clothing such as bright orange vests around busy roadways and correct shoes while climbing ladders
- The leaders were accountable for maintaining these requirements
- Signed liability waivers from all participants
- Holding the church harmless
- Designated, screened (MVR) drivers were assigned to safely transport the students
- Training certain individuals to operate power equipment to avoid injury
- Making sure volunteers were covered under the church’s liability coverage
Making an impact requires effective leadership and intentional safety rules and regulations, and correct insurance coverage. It not only positively serves the community, but also assures the health and welfare of the volunteers involved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR