The State of Volunteers
By Kenneth Akers
What is a volunteer? In Tennessee, where I live, it is someone who either was born in the state or supports the University of Tennessee football team. However, as a Kentucky native (Go Big Blue!) I do not qualify in either of those areas. So, what is a volunteer? The Webster’s definition is:
Volunteer. noun. a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.
When I started thinking about this definition, I realized there are many ways to volunteer. You have volunteers who work locally, serving in their church and schools. Working with children and youth through sports teams is also very popular. While these volunteer opportunities are limited in their scope, they receive the greatest number of volunteers.
Venturing out a little farther, we find volunteers who assist in and around their local communities, for instance, helping with disasters in their own state and community or neighboring states. They have the ability to leave their homes and jobs for short periods of time. They have, in most cases, the financial ability to serve without enduring a financial hardship. Many times, these folks do short-term mission trips or serve in disaster areas. Often, they are skilled individuals who fill specific needs.
The last group includes volunteers who have the ability to travel greater distances and stay extended periods of time. They are often retired and in good health or have the ability to take extended leave from their place of employment. In some cases, these volunteers work for companies that pay employees when they volunteer after natural disasters.
Over the years, I have volunteered on each of these levels. I have been involved in local, state, national, and international volunteer work. I have learned that if you are interested in serving, a place is always available.
Local churches always need help, from teaching to cleaning to singing. Master’s Men Disaster Response always needs help following natural disasters. Both Master’s Men and International Missions need volunteers for short-term missions opportunities.
Even if you are not from Tennessee or support the Big Orange, you can still be a volunteer. And, while you volunteer for the sake of others, you will always be the one who receives a blessing. For more information, contact Master’s Men (fwbmastersmen.org or 877-767-8039) or International Missions (fwbgo.com 877-767-7736).
About the Writer: Kenneth Akers is director of Master’s Men and coordinator of Free Will Baptist Disaster Response.