You probably have an undiscovered treasure hidden in your church! What is this treasure you ask? It is the army of senior saints volunteers waiting for you to ask them to help serve in your hospitably ministry (and other areas of ministry) in meaningful and productive ways. Many of you already have a large base of these wonderful senior saints and if your ministry is like mine, you couldn’t survive without them. Others of you may be thinking; “I am not sure that is such a good idea. Our kitchen is dangerous and very fast paced. No offense, but our ministry may just not be a good fit”. Maybe you have tried before and it just didn’t work out for any number of reasons. I am here to tell you that for those of you who have ever thought this, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Today’s senior saints are more active and committed to volunteer service than ever before. Regardless of their retirement age, they still feel like they have a lot to offer their communities and churches. Here in Orlando we have two great organizations that speak to this very thing. One is a nationally recognized organization called “Growing Bolder”. They produce active-lifestyle and wellness content for seniors for the Web, TV and Radio. According to their website “We like to tell stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” Each year they are the emcees of an annual appreciation luncheon we hold each year for the another great organization called “RSVP – Retired Seniors Volunteer Program” RSVP is the nation’s premier volunteer organization for people 55 and better seeking interesting and often unique opportunities to get engaged in their community. There are over 500,000 RSVP members nationwide who donate over 72 million hours of service annually to 43,000 local organizations.
“But Marcus, you don’t understand, we have tried before and except for a few exceptions they just don’t seem to work out in my ministry.” Perhaps the problem was how and where you tried to fit someone in. Maybe the fryers, the dish machine or the high tech point of sale system you got this year did not work out for some of your volunteers. Have you ever thought that perhaps it was the Lord who sent you this wonderful worker? That makes it our responsibility to help find a way to put their heart and their abilities to work in way that would bless your guests and them.
Meet David Fost. I have never personally met David but I could tell you one thing, I would love to meet him. Better yet, I would love to have him on my team.
“My name is David: I am 69 years old and I have had a hip replacement and I can’t do very much. I attend Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif. My story shows what the Lord can do if we listen to him and then follow what he has to say!
“My wife and I belong to what we call the “Red Wagon.” The “Red Wagon” is just a name for our church group that feeds the homeless on Mondays and Thursdays. We feed approximately 275 homeless people every week.
“Over the years, I have prayed for something I could do for the church. I can’t carry a tune, I can’t teach, etc. Well, finally the Lord spoke to me. One day as I was wrapping the forks and spoons into the napkins for our dinners (Our health Department requires us to do this) the Lord told me that we are feeding the homeless physical food so why not give them a Bible Verse to take with them as some spiritual food as well!
“Well, I finally found something I can do! Each week I print out 275 Bible Verses on my home printer. I get two on each sheet of standard paper and I cut them in half and wrap one in each napkin with the fork and spoon. I have been doing this for about six months and so far, no one has thrown them away! One lady had accidently thrown it away with her napkin and dug it out of the trash to find it. She says she saves all of them! This is something simple that anyone can do. Maybe you know someone that wants to serve the Lord and doesn’t know what to do. By taking the first step which was joining the “Red Wagon,” the Lord showed me what I can do! I AM REALLY BLESSED!!!”
As you can see David is being utilized in a simple and yet very meaningful way in his ministry. Equally as important, he feels fulfilled as a volunteer and as a believer. David’s story is one of thousands in the hospitality ministries across the country. There are many more like his waiting to be told. So I leave you with two very important questions:
1. What are some examples like this one in your own ministry?