July 26, 2005

Putting Money into my Mouth

So I've been doing a little thinking. I was in Crosswinds Downtown today, and got seriously pissed off. Ok, time for a little background.

Crosswinds Downtown is a pregnancy resource center and food pantry run by our church. People can come in to get food once a month, peer counseling, free pregnancy tests (walk-in or by appointment), take classes with a counselor to earn fake money to "buy" stuff from a large selection of baby clothes, diapers, formula, etc, OR any combination of the above. It's been growing a lot, at least in the number of clients that come in. It's open during the week for three hours each day, M,Tues,Thurs from 11-2 and Wed from 1-4.

That being the case, we were talking (after it closed for the day) about the volunteer situation. Or lack thereof. There's a ton of people going on vacation, which I understand, but the bad part is that there is nobody to take their place. We have a church of 1500 regular weekend attenders, and there aren't enough volunteers to take the places of 5 people for a month. As it is, they don't have any volunteers on mondays, and the people that do work there are burning out, bigtime.

Including the director and office manager, one of whom is my wife.

I couldn't help but notice that none of the staff of our church serve down there. I think two, maybe three of them served once each. But not regularly. This from a church that is a self-proclaimed "evangelistic" church. So I spent a lot of time getting really angry about it, ranting and raving with the director and office manager (and a volunteer who happend to be there, someone I'm pretty close to).

I got upset that the staff doesn't care enough about it to make regular visits (except our senior pastor, who goes down to meet with the director once a week) because they're always in meetings - lots and lots of meetings. I got upset that there aren't more volunteers. I got upset that there's so little funding being put into the place that they have to scrounge for money to buy groceries to even keep the food pantry running each day.

And then something happened which really upset me. God barged in on my little tirade and decided to put in His two cents. And ya know, it was one of those reality-checks for me (coming from God, it usually is). I suddenly realized that I must not care enough, because I don't really do a thing about it. I tell myself "you sacrifice your wife working there, isn't that a lot?" when really, I don't do anything about it at all.

So I'm going to start putting my money where my mouth is. I've decided to volunteer there once or twice a month (maybe more if I can manage it). But for those of you who read my blog and live in the area (whatever you do for church or religion or whatever), I urge you - please please PLEASE consider volunteering at Downtown. These people come to us because they need our help, and I ask you - do you care enough to spend even ONE day a month helping out?

I hate to say it, but I didn't. It's a bit embarrassing to say, but what matters is that I do now. Mondays and Tuesdays are the hardest days and are the days with the least amount of volunteers. You don't have to do too much, just come, there will be at least one other person there to teach you the ins and outs. Email Liz at downtown@crosswindsonline.org if you think you can help.

See you there.

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