About a year ago this man volunteered as a "Big Brother" with the local chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He learned that here was a tremendous waiting list of kids wanting someone to share their time and help mentor them. So, he signed up, made it through the background check, and was assigned a "little brother," an 11 year old boy who needed a little encouragement. Now the two spend between 1 and 2 hours a week together, and are forming a close relationship. They go out to eat, they go to the lake and walk along the shore, they go to a little league game, or they might just go to the library. The point is, they can do just about anytime, and it is up to the Big Brother to decide how much time and how much money is spent. Through that relationship, he is also able to influence the family, invite them to church, and introduce them to our community of faith. In fact, this man was honored as the "Big Brother of the Year" by our local chapter.
So, we have decided to rally our congregation and attempt to flood Big Brothers & Big Sisters with volunteers, and here's why:
1. They do all the paperwork.
2. We don't have to appoint a deacon or ministry leader to keep up with stats, number of visits, etc.
3. There is absolutely no expense to the church, no printed materials, not even an annual dinner -- the organization does that.
4. Anybody can do it.
5. Volunteers get to determine the age and race of the kids they want to help.
6. The parents of these kids have asked for this help.
7. Schedules are flexible -- if the volunteer has to be out of town, or something else comes up, you just call and reschedule.
8. The parents agree in writing that they can deny access on a weekly basis as punishment for anything the child has done.
9. Sunday school, youth events, VBS, camp, etc. can all be part of the relationship
10. The relationship with the child gives open access for the volunteer to build a relationship with the parents that may create a door of opportunity for evangelism.
You get the idea. Also, it is important to note that social scientist now say that the vast majority of children will never rise above the expectations they have for their futures past the age of 11.
If you are looking for a new idea for local outreach, look into Big Brothers & Big Sisters. You can click on the title of this article for a link (assuming I did it right) to find a chapter near you.