Hi, Caity Shinnick here! And this is my personal story about volunteering...
When Ethos was first getting started at the Cannery in 2008, everything was done by a handful of people. No one was on staff yet, not Dave, not Will, not me. The same ten or so people showed up, unloaded the trailer where we stored everything, set up the room, made coffee, and welcomed people. Well, we quickly outgrew this system and started making our first volunteer teams.
Back then there was one person in charge of each team, and that person recruited volunteers for their area. Jessica Duty was in charge of our first official welcome team. One day, I heard they were looking for a few more people to join the welcome team. I had served on a kids team, set up team, and coffee team. I’d even run slides a few times. But welcome team, no way. I had decided that wasn’t for me. I wasn’t good at small talk, and I felt awkward. But something kept bugging me, something kept bringing it to mind. So I finally gave in and signed up.
It just so happened that I was watching Friday Night Lights in that season of life. I decided that if I couldn’t small talk or make people feel welcome, at least I knew of a good Southern woman who could. Yes, that’s right. Tami Taylor, portrayed by the lovely Connie Britton. I know it seems silly. But I just decided that I, too, could be friendly and welcoming to anyone I met if I just tried a little. So in this quest to channel Tami Taylor, I actually began to enjoy this type of conversation, welcoming people, and helping them find their way in. I met a fun and wonderful person on my team (shout out to Callie Ann Starkey), and we connected and laughed as we welcomed guests and regulars.
And all of the sudden, it seemed like God had changed me. He had opened up this place in me that went way beyond simply saying hi like Tami, but actually growing hospitality and joy in my heart. By volunteering and serving our church, the Lord grew my love for His people and for His church. He used a volunteer role to teach me about His love for me, His love for His church, and the beauty and joy of true hospitality. I also made several friends as I served on Sundays.
Here's what I will leave you with...Have you hesitated to sign up because you don't think you'll be good at it? Or because you aren't sure where you'll fit in? My advice to you is sign up, start serving, and see what God does in you. My story isn't the only one like this; there are hundreds of volunteers in our church who have been changed and grown through volunteering. And if you sign up and find that you don't fit that particular role, our volunteer team will help you find a place where you can serve joyfully! Throw yourself out there, take a chance, and join us on mission on Sundays!
Volunteer sign ups are happening at each location over the next few weeks. Spend some time praying about where you feel called to serve.
For more information about ways to serve on Sundays and to sign up, go here. Questions? Email Jana Ogg and our volunteer team at .
(SIDE NOTE: Yes, I am slightly embarrassed to admit I channeled Tami Taylor on the welcome team. But today I am praying that God will use even my silliest motivations to grow hearts and further His kingdom.)