We are calling 2016 The Year of the Volunteer, because we can envision accomplishing much more in partnership with volunteers. We are actively looking for people, of all ages, with different skill sets, who desire to make a contribution to kingdom work. In order to do this well, we needed … a volunteer!
One Challenge is pleased to welcome Paul Christoffersen, our new Director of Volunteer Services. The position, also a volunteer post, was established in response to OC’s big vision for the future. Paul comes to OC with 15 years of experience in the business world and just having finished a Master’s of Missiology. We met with Paul and asked him about his new post.
What has motivated the establishment of your new position?
Looking at the one-year, five-year or longer horizon, it becomes difficult to understand how we are going to accomplish all the goals and objectives we have in place with our current staff. Bringing volunteers into the organization can help bridge that gap.
What are you hoping for?
We are looking for opportunities to invite men and women into One Challenge and give them a chance to see and be a part of what God is doing in the world. For some, this will be an eye-opening introduction into the world of mission. For others, it will be an extension of a lifetime of mission work. Either way, we have a chance to support them in their desire to participate in the important Kingdom work going on here.
What is One Challenge asking God for?
We are asking God to bring forward men and women that want to be involved and want to contribute. We are asking God for the wisdom to create a positive and excellent experience for the volunteers that walk through our doors, and for the staff that will have a chance to work with them. We are asking for guidance so that we can develop a robust and sustainable program that honors God and brings glory to His name.
We are also asking God for courage and boldness. As we move from an organization that benefits from volunteer efforts to one that is dependent on volunteers, we become vulnerable. We put ourself in a position of dependence and anticipation of provision that only God can supply. God loves to accomplish big things with small groups.
What do you anticipate as the most difficult hurdles?
As we move from an informal volunteer program to a more formal program, we will need to be more thorough and deliberate. By that I mean, we will need to spend time to identify and document the tasks that are appropriate for volunteers. We will need to understand how much training will be required and if the impact justifies the effort. This will take time and attention away from the staff’s day-to-day responsibilities. That is a hard thing to ask someone to do but it is critical, and it is an investment of time that will pay off in the future.
What is your plan for development?
We are executing a plan that approaches this program from several angles.
- Internally, we are looking at any current processes that OC has in place. Through that we will identify gaps that need to be addressed. We do have an application and vetting process.
- We are identifying areas that are open and accessible for volunteers to work in.
- We are working to develop a formal on-boarding process that will include orientation and training.
- Retaining and rewarding volunteers is critical, so we need to understand how to do that better.
What kinds of volunteer work do/will we have?
We currently have volunteers scattered throughout the mobilization center that provide a variety of administrative and hospitality support. The Communications Department has volunteer transcribers (virtual) and letter stuffers, and they have had volunteers in the area of graphic design and web design. The Facilities Department has had volunteers help with building projects and painting. This is great!
Going forward, as we take a systematic look at each department, we will develop a task book of available and well-defined volunteering activities.
Who should potential volunteers contact?
The current process for anyone wanting to volunteer would be to contact the Personnel Department. They are responsible for the application and screening process. Contact: Personnel@oci.org
Thank you Paul for your enthusiasm and contribution to this important position.
As we move forward in 2016, we are excited about the new partnerships God will bring us through volunteers. We hope and pray for individuals with a variety of experience and training, and most of all a heart for God’s kingdom work.