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Archive for August, 2012

3 Things You Need to Start a Home Repair Ministry (and 8 More to Grow)

A home repair team, in the most rudimentary form, needs very few things:

    1) A couple of people who want to use their knowledge and skills in construction-related ministry
    2) A project or several projects requiring volunteers
    3) A method of funding materials

Anything larger than "a couple of guys" requires some level of organization or things can get chaotic quickly. At that point, you will need to:

    Building a Ramp1) Identify a team leader
    2) Determine a method of distributing information to the volunteer team (meeting, email, website, etc.)
    3) Develop a plan to distribute information to supporters and let potential "clients" know about the ministry
    4) Create a database or tracking mechanism for projects and volunteers
    5) Build a volunteer pool over time and a plan to manage and develop your volunteers
    6) Establish guidelines for carrying out the ministry need, including safety, types of projects the team can/cannot handle, scope, financial need of clients, etc.
    7) Foster communication between the team and church leadership so that all are kept abreast of the ministry development and progress
    8) Develop an accountability system to ensure that the spiritual aspect of serving on a home repairs team is being included, and so that there is proper follow up and quality control for completing projects.

Want more information on starting, finding projects, how to pay for projects and more? We can help! Register on our site today at no charge!

The Wrong Way, and the Right Way to Serve

Knight in shining armor

from freeimages.com / Kamila Turton

Are you a knumbskull like me? A while back, I had the chance to help serve a hurting family in my church by hanging out with one of the kids. And, on top of that, it was to help my wife out out, who was working with the mom. So Gallahad came riding in with a heart as big as Montana to save the day, right? Ummm, not so much.

See, I am not a “kid person”, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the potential aggravation after work. I did go, but I initially went into it kicking and screaming when my wife called asking for help. Nice, huh?

Well, God got my heart tuned the right direction, eventually, and I apologized to my wife on the ride over. The night went alright and some important work got done. But what a great (negative) lesson in our attitude in service. Too often, I don’t head into it with a heart of joy and grace. Unlike a terrific biblical model for responding to a need in the church, the Macedonians.

Here is the famous passage from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 8:1 – 5 (NIV presented here).

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.


Wow, talk about the heart of a servant and love for fellow believers! Even as they were undergoing affliction, they were, as my pastor described it, “giddy” with the privilege to support and help the church. How cool is that? And what a humbling reminder of the need to serve with the right attitude. Especially those in the church. As Jesus said in John's gospel (13:34-35) - "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (NIV)."

May I, and we all, grow to be better Macedonians, first giving ourselves over to the Lord in service as we love our brothers, sisters and others.

Jim

Categories: Devotionals, Lessons Learned, Service Tags:

The Ministry Opportunity You May Be Sitting On

Churches are trying to get the most outreach impact they can from available resources, but there’s a tricky issue – available resource. On top of that, we know we have limited hours in a day and can feel it - palpably. Churches have to be smart and strategic in the Kingdom work they do to be good and faithful stewards of what God has given them.

Home Repairs GuySo here’s the punchline. For this opportunity, you may not need to think about starting a new ministry. Your church may already be sitting on top of one that already exists (or at least has the potential to exist) in your church! Think about this. Who’s the guy you call or would call if you had a widow in your church with a leaky faucet? Who is always helping out when something breaks or needs to get built. Does a face or two spring to mind? Odds are pretty good that this person may not be formally plugged in with a ministry and has trouble figuring out where and how to serve. Why wouldn’t you want that guy reaching out to more people in your congregation or your community? Maybe it’s time to turn ‘em loose!

Widow on new deckAnd you do that by starting a home repair ministry. A home repair ministry is an opportunity for your church to love on and serve your widows, single moms, elderly and disabled members, and to serve these same groups out in your community. In fact, once your team learns how to get referrals you may find what our Executive Director describes as a very odd phenomonon. People in your comumnity inviting your Christ-followers into their homes. How's that for an outreach opportunity? Cool, huh?

You’re probably thinking that this sounds good, but let’s get real, staff and ministry leaders don’t have time to throw at another ad hoc thing. The beauty of a home repairs ministry is that it’s designed to be lay-led. Past receiving the occasional update, staff doesn’t have to get further involved unless they want to.

If you’re looking for some guidance on how to get started, we have a library of content including ministry vision, how to get started, how and where to get referrals, project management, volunteer management and more. We like to think of it as a home repair ministry “in a box”. Get a Sneak Peek of what's available!

We also provide access to a network of churches with home repair ministries (right now mainly in Atlanta, but starting to spread nationally). Will you join us? We do not charge for the site (but you can make a donation if you are able). Check out what you get from Home Repairs Ministries

You can also click “Contact Us” near the bottom of this webpage to directly contact us with questions you might have.

The Importance of Work, Life and Balance

I wanted to share a good blog post and reminder from The High Calling on the Importance of Work, Life and Balance.

Article

Categories: Life balance, Ministry Impact, Service Tags:

Six Suggestions for Managing Volunteers

If someone were to ask you about the most critical resources that you need to carry out your ministry (or if you are considering starting a ministry), what would you answer? Would it be:

  • A place to meet and organize
  • A strong, engaged leader
  • Money to carry out your mission
  • Time

Volunteers on-siteWe know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the heart of any Christian ministry. But did you ever think about your volunteers being the life-giving blood cells carrying the oxygen (i.e. your ministry service) to where it needs to go? Are you pouring time and effort into your ministries' volunteers?

Whatever your particular ministry is, volunteer management and relationship building will be one of the key factors in your ministries' success and longevity. It is difficult to succeed if you are not recruiting, engaging, training and following-up with your volunteers in a systematic way.  Here are six suggestions for managing and growing your volunteers and improving your ministry impact.

1)      Screen your volunteers – This may seem like a strange thing to feature in a section on volunteer management, but it is a critical step for ministries focused on outreach and interacting with clients. Perform a background check and protect your clients AND the volunteer. Screen for potential problems on the up-front and save yourself and your volunteers from potential trouble.

2)      Keep track of your volunteers' skills in a database or book – For a ministry that is very multi-faceted, like a home repair ministry, it is very helpful to know what your volunteers' skills are and what kinds of jobs they can and cannot do. The church presents a wonderful diversity of giftedness. As Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians (4:16) - From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (NIV – emphasis mine). Knowing the skills of your volunteers gives you a chance to put them in projects where they can succeed. Remember to have your volunteers give you their schedule for service (when and how often) and honor it. By the way, we have a volunteer spreadsheet that we have used that your welcome to use if you sign up as a Ministry Partner.

Training sign

Photo courtesy of Cristian Galletti, freeimages.com)

3)      Train your volunteers and onboard them – Whatever your volunteer's skills are, they should be familiarized with how your ministry operates, what support they can expect from leadership, your program history, etc. Give them the information that they need to be productive and to determine if your ministry is the right one for them. Better to find these things out early and get the right people involved and not just warm bodies (although with creativity you can have unskilled laborers – of which I include myself - involved in cleaning up, setting up and feeding the other volunteers). If your ministry is not a fit then there certainly is another ministry home for the volunteer. Regardless of your volunteer's skill set, leave jobs with a significant potential for injury (i.e. the use of high ladders) to professionals.

4)      Recommend liability insurance if your ministry carries injury risk – Just like at home, injuries can occur when volunteering with a home repair ministry. Falling off ladders, tripping over cords and wires, and other injuries do happen to volunteers. If your volunteers are not covered for personal injuries, it is strongly advised that you clearly explain the necessity of carrying personal liability insurance prior to engaging in any home repair efforts. It is the obligation of a home repairs ministry to notify volunteers of the lack of personal liability coverage. To protect your ministry you should also have your volunteers sign a legal waiver form.

5)      Do not take on jobs that you lack the volunteer skills for (or lack the manpower to do the job quickly) – We try to never take on a project that takes more than one or two days. Long projects tend to sap the strength and morale of your team.

6)      Follow-up with your volunteers – Ask them if their skills are being utilized correctly. See if there are other roles that the volunteer might want to take on or learn. Look for opportunities to move volunteers into a leadership position (as appropriate). As with paying jobs the potential for leadership and/or growth can motivate your volunteers to stick with you.

By taking the time to help your volunteers thrive and succeed you will ultimately encourage them to stick with you for the long haul and help your ministry serve with excellence.