How can I make a difference?
Volunteer with us.
As church leaders we are challenged to be the ligaments in the body of Christ. We connect Diocesan-trained and supported coaches with individuals and congregations to help build up our church in times of transition, challenge and change. And all for Christ’s sake.
- I am ready to take the first step by completing a Diocesan Volunteer Application Form.
- I need more information, please contact Elizabeth McCaffrey or call 1 800 668 8932 or 416 363 6021 extension 226.
The Supporting Congregations Volunteer Corps was established in 1996 in order to resource the work Area Bishops do in their parishes. Our coaches and facilitators volunteer with parishes in order to build up healthy communities of faith with clarity of mission. In all things we serve God first and we serve with joy, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit. We listen for needs and respond accordingly. We offer encouragement and support while recognising our own limitations and boundaries. As volunteers and Diocesan Staff we seek to be good stewards of our time and resources, and work to model a balance between work, prayer, play and family.
What ministry positions are available?
- Natural Church Development (NCD) coaches
- Parish Selection Committee facilitators
- Parish Administrators (under Canon 24)
- Nominating Committee Members
- Project Enabling and Monitoring Group coaches
- Stewardship Education Coach
- Diocesan Board Members (description under review)
- Other positions to be determined
Who can volunteer with the Diocese?
- Experienced congregational leaders looking for new opportunities to serve the church;
- Gifted leaders seeking to use and improve their skills;
- Committed and experienced Anglicans, nurtured by scripture, with a mature, living faith;
- Parishioners recommended to us by their bishops and clergy;
- Persons committed to joining God’s mission here in the Diocese; and,
- People seeking to learn more and deepen their faith.
What our volunteers say:
God has blessed me throughout my life with opportunities to learn and grow, not only in my church life but in my professional life. Now I am happy to use my knowledge and experiences to help grow the church and God’s Kingdom, and I find that the blessings continue through this work!
Val Whalley, Natural Church Development Coach
I volunteer because the work is very interesting and it allows you to use your good judgement. Here I work with great people – in the Diocesan office, in churches and with other volunteers.
Michael Farrell, Administrator and Parish Selection Committee Coach (PSC)
I believe that the church has a message beyond my parish. I volunteer because I believe in service and that you should push yourself. The Diocese offers training and opportunities for me to reach beyond where we all begin in our parishes.
Joanne Colbourne, PSC Coach
Recommend a Friend
If you know someone whom you think would be ideal for our Diocesan Volunteer Corps, please click on our Volunteer Scouting Card.
Volunteering in your parish
Once an individual’s gifts are held up within the community, it is imperative they be deployed. Ministry vocations can range from administrative functions such as property management to social justice tasks such as working with a food bank or housing agency. The range of ministry is restricted only by our imaginations.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his glorious light” (I Peter 2:9).
The key to vibrant ministry is:
- For the community to discern and affirm the gifts of an individual. See Discerning Our Gifts.
- Matching those gifts with the required ministries.
Lay Ministry Empowerment Cycle
Leaders must plan for and support lay ministry as carefully as they do for paid positions. There are simple and proven principles that help to make intentional lay ministry work. They are grouped into a model known as the lay ministry/volunteer management cycle. The acronym PROSE offers a simple way to share and remember the principles.
- Orientation and Training
- Screening and Support
- Evaluate and Recognize
1. The Big Picture. Leaders must know the community, the church and its mission to the world. With the use of the Planning Study and Benchmark data and the Visioning process, begin asking yourselves: What are the greatest needs in the community and the world? What are the strongest gifts in the congregation? Which needs can the congregation meet? What resources do we need?
2. The Specific Ministry. Think through the specific ministry you want and write down the particular tasks and responsibilities you need fulfilled. Consider the importance of the function, why you want it done, the personality characteristics, competencies and skills needed. Then list the qualifications required, the training needed and the support and supervision you will provide. Last, but in no way least, figure out the benefits this ministry will bring to the person accomplishing it and how it would fit into their sense of call, ministry or faith journey. Put this all together in the form of a ministry description. Sample Ministry Descriptions may be found on the screening section of this web site.
Recruiting and interviewing
Matching gifts and skills to appropriate ministry opportunities is a bit of an art. Begin with a search process which may range from an informal invitation to a structured job posting. When you find a possible candidate, invite them to meet with you to discuss the position. Many have found the process and form known as the Glad Gifts Profile very helpful.
Take time to sit down and discuss the position with the person. Remember: if you are casual about the invitation to minister, you may unwittingly be communicating that the ministry is not important. Be clear about what you are asking for and use the ministry description. Discern in the conversation if this person is a good match for the position in terms of skills, abilities, time commitment and personal qualities. If you discover that this person is not a good match for the position but would be suitable in another role, suggest that they consider something else. During the interview, you both have an opportunity to see where those gifts can best be shared. Never twist people’s arms, but do promote the benefits of the ministry. Give people time to think about the position and graciously thank them for considering the request. Encourage them if they are hesitant but interested, and offer opportunities to try it out.
Orientation and training
Schedule time with the person at the beginning of the ministry so that they can be oriented to the position. Learning on the fly is neither satisfying to the individual nor effective to the organization. Offer training for the position, which may be in the form of formal or informal workshops, books or articles to read, on-the-job training, or written instructions. Offering on-going training is a great way to renew lay ministers.
Screening and support
A diocesan screening policy has been implemented to ensure that the church is a holy place where the love of Christ can be modeled and learned. We have a fundamental obligation to the welfare of all members of our community, but especially to those who are vulnerable through age, infirmity or particular circumstances of dependency. The degree of screening reflects the level of risk in the volunteer position. Risk includes financial responsibilities as well.
It is essential to support the ministry of the volunteer once they are in place. Help solve problems, recognize their efforts and accomplishments and coach and guide them. Never take a person’s gifts for granted. You can never say thank you too often. Where appropriate, offer tangibles such as certificates or small thank you gifts. Provide adequate supplies and resources. Ensure they know who they report to and where to go for organizational approval. Be on the alert for over-functioning behavior and burn-out which can be destructive forces in ministry.
Evaluation and recognition
Check in from time to time to find out how things are going. It’s a good way to recognize the work as integral to the life of the community. A more intentional evaluation can be done through a one-on-one conversation or in a small group, using a series of prepared questions. Provide immediate feedback. Evaluate both the job and the lay ministry volunteer. Include the lay ministry volunteer in the evaluation process.
Based on the feedback of the evaluation, adjust the job description if necessary, clarify misunderstandings, develop goals and celebrate accomplishments. If it is not a good fit, discuss a re-assignment to a more suitable ministry. Conduct exit interviews when people leave a position and, as appropriate, celebrate the service in a way that is meaningful to the lay ministry volunteer.
Recognition is a way of turning work into worship. It is an opportunity for the faith community to reaffirm how this particular ministry is connected to the wider mission of the church and how the role of the lay ministry volunteer contributes to its accomplishment.
Recognition is as informal as a well-timed thank you and it should also be formalized. Formalized celebration of ministry has various forms: a thank you note, a gift certificate for a family outing, a liturgy of commission, a liturgy of covenant for the ministry of all the baptized at the beginning of the church year, pins, certificates and dinners are just some recognition ideas. Find out what is important to the lay minister and then be creative to find an appropriate way to recognize that individual. Celebration enhances relationships and fosters community, when done well.
Please read “Adapted from Living & Chosen Stones: A Source Book for Parish Advisory Boards,” (1991, The Diocese of Toronto). For more information, please contact Elizabeth McCaffrey or call 1 800 668 8932 or 416 363 6021 extension 226.
Programs and Resources
- Sharing the Ministry: A Practical Guide for Transforming Volunteers into Ministers, (Morris Trumbauer Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis, 1999.) This resource gives further assistance in supporting or implementing an intentional lay ministry program for churches based on sound volunteer management principles. It uses a systems approach to shared ministry whose aim is to involve the gifts of all the baptized. It contains guidelines, suggestions and sample plans about how to implement this new model in traditional church structures. The manual is full of training outlines, sample forms, hand outs and fresh ideas about volunteer management or support for “volunteer ministers” for various size congregations. It is a three-ring binder laid out in seven sections, is easy to read and use and, above all, it really is practical.
- Natural Church Development is an assessment resource for congregational health and focuses on the strength of the lay leadership within the parish.