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PRESIDENTS TALK:

“GRATITUDE” FOR THE MINDSET OF VOLUNTEERISM

Acts 20: Verse 35-Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Have you ever thought about what this church would be like without our wonderful core of volunteers? For that matter, what would the world be like –there would be darkness in the halls of the non-profits everywhere; hospitals could not function, communities could no longer do events and of course, religious activities would cease to exist.

Today is all about saying “Thank You” to all our volunteers. Whether you do one hours work or 40 hours work, God has asked you to serve and he challenges you, that whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, because you are not only serving those in need, but you are serving Our Lord and Savior. We thank all the volunteers we know who do things that are always in our sight, but we also thank those who work behind the scenes, and are the silent partners of this church.

A very important church statistic states that 90% of church work is done by 10% of its members. I want to proudly tell you that Ascension Lutheran Church members do 63% of all church work, leaving only 37% done by staff or outside vendors. (let me say that again-63% of church work is done by volunteers and 37% is done by others.) For a church our size, we are remarkable! Thanks be to God for each of you.

This church is certainly not the norm, because in most churches, 57% have not volunteered in the last year, and 28% have never volunteered. How very sad these statistics from the church organization world wide are. As a church council, we know how much work it takes to prepare and run just a Sunday morning service and yet, some individuals are unaware there is a need to participate. If Ascension Church wants to grow, it will take volunteers to grow it!!!!

God uses volunteers to serve this congregation and they in turn, through their efforts, bear fruit in their own lives, in this church, and our surrounding communities. (This is apparent in our wonderful partnerships with our Mission Groups in the community). Just these past two weeks, you unselfishly donated 117 cans of soup for Super Bowl Sunday to the CCC and CROS Ministries. Another amazing accomplishment by this church, over a $1000.00 worth of food was donated to the Boynton Beach Soup Kitchen. God lives in each of you!

  • Volunteers keep ministry moving forward-
  • Volunteer church groups help produce ideas for church ministry-
  • Volunteers are the heart, the strength and the power of this church-
  • Volunteers at Ascension draw closer to God, because we help people-
  • Volunteers give back to the church the most valuable asset they have-their time and talents-
  • Volunteers set examples for adults, friends, children and those not as Blessed as we are-
  • Volunteers grow personally, spiritually and socially-

We are all incredibly busy people, but for those of you who have not volunteered and think you don’t have time, that old adage “let someone else do it,” is just unacceptable here at Ascension.

What can you do: beginning is easy- start setting aside an hour or so a week to get into the habit. It will begin to make a huge difference in other people’s lives and you personally, will feel enriched and enjoy a much deeper satisfaction and walk with God.

Think back on your life for a moment and think about all the ways you have volunteered, in any way, during your lifetime.

The volunteer members of this congregation are like Owners of God’s Ministry, because they are deeply committed to this church. We ask those of you who aren’t involved, to get involved in some way- very simply-we need you!!! To our current volunteers, thank you for staying involved, through the good and bad times, the lean and prosperous years, because the benefits of volunteerism in this church are amazing-you are and continue to be the ultimate volunteers for Jesus.

Never let us become complacent and think, “well maybe it is time to sit back and let someone else do it.” We never want to lose the wonderful momentum we have going for us here at Ascension. People will arrive and people will go over the years to come, but there has to always be someone ready to step into that vacant spot, to keep Ascension moving forward.

Volunteerism can be seen in a lot of ways here at Ascension- Front door volunteerism is what we know is done, and can be readily seen; Back door volunteerism is what is done behind the scenes at Ascension, because individuals wish to remain anonymous. Let me share some of these back door volunteer deeds this morning, to let you know that there is such caring and compassion among this community of believers and the back door volunteers are unsung heroes in many ways.

Here are just a few of the things that have been done and paid for by individuals behind the scenes. Financial donations for:

  • Carpet cleaning to spruce up the church-especially during holiday-
  • Lift truck brought in to replace lightbulbs in sanctuary for holidays or special times- very expensive-
  • Sprinkler repairs amounting to several thousand dollars-
  • Purchase of new bingo board-a few thousand dollars-
  • Transportation in own vehicles of individuals to dinners, special events and church-
  • One individual does weekly recycling for Ascension-
  • Donation of monthly contribution to our patron fund-this is a fund helping to defray costs—for example, our hymnals were purchased through this— graduation and church member weddings help with this-
  • Donation of sound equipment parts-
  • Payment of poinsettia bill allowing the church to keep proceeds-
  • Payment of misc. maintenance equipment-amounting to a few thousand dollars
  • Individuals never taking payment for food at fellowship or breakfast on the beach-
  • Changing outside sign for visibility to public-
  • Individual paying for pavers at a home, making wheel chair access easier for a handicapped person-
  • Purchase and donation of new refrigerator for fellowship hall-
  • Someone reviewed all the church’s utility bills and recovered retroactive monies-
  • A current review of outside lighting being studied (this person spent hours compiling this study)-
  • Donation of hundreds of books for our church library-
  • All food from the beginning of the power lunch was donated and prepared by one individual, as well as the purchasing of all films-
  • Someone donated a player piano for our flea market-
  • A family purchased wine for communion for many years-

These are recent donations over only the past two years as the list does not take into account, the sacrifices made by individuals over many years at Ascension. We could go on and on, because these things occur almost daily. To our behind the scene volunteers, you all know who you are, please accept our grateful thanks and appreciation. God knows each one of you personally. Remember, we are where we are today because of all the volunteers, past, present and future who have called Ascension their home.

I hope you realize financially what you have done for our mission groups this year and each Loose Change Sunday. Proverbs 14: 31 says “but whoever is kind to the needy, honors God.”

We hope your genuine loving spirit at Ascension Lutheran Church and our Glorious God, will continue to shine brightly this year, as we prepare for the future and as God leads us every step of the way. Every church member is a volunteer minister. We must continue to step outside the Ascension box, to touch the lives of others, remembering, volunteering should always be about love.

Let me leave you with 1 Corinthians 13:13-“and now abide faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.”

God bless our wonderful volunteers at Ascension Lutheran Church and Thanks Be to God for each of you, because as I said in my President’s message in the Annual Report-“Great is your faithfulness”.

As we rapidly approach Lent, Holy Week and Easter, let us remember that We are all children of God. We invite everyone to join our Ascension family For our Maundy Thursday service of hand washing, altar striping and Holy Communion at 7:00 p.m.

Our Good Friday service will focus on the service of Tenebrae, Also known as the service of lights and narration, taking us into the darkness of the day at 7:00 p.m.

The glorious Sunday of Easter morning begins at 10:30 a.m. with the Joy and Shouts of “He is risen, Alleluia”.

Please join our Ascension family as we celebrate the Easter morning filled with Hope, as we go forth to share the news, Christ is Risen!

Alleluia, thanks be to god!

The Church Council of Ascension Lutheran Church

 

 

 

 

 

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