Community Service Volunteers Cleaning Up TrashMany religions exhort their followers to care for the people around them. Whether they call them neighbors or the less fortunate or some other variation of the general sentiment, it's expected that people of faith want to reach out to help those who need it.

As with any habit, it's easy to fall into comfortable patterns of always helping the same people in the same way. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, if you are content with your efforts and making the difference you want to make. If you feel like your actions have grown stale or you wish to expand your reach, however, you must be willing to step outside that comfort zone. Start by expanding your worldview, and this will naturally help you find new ways to serve.


Every new journey begins where you are. Start by asking yourself what you excel at. Do you have any particular talents or skills? Make a list of all the hobbies that you enjoy or things that seem to be easier for you than for others:

  • Sewing or other needlework
  • Building things
  • Cooking
  • Time management
  • Writing

There are probably things that you do in your job that can give you ideas about how to serve your community. For example, if you are an accountant, consider volunteering at your local library during tax season to offer assistance to those who cannot afford your services. If no such program exists in your city, you can rally others to help you start it. Something you already know how to do well offers a great way to increase your impact on your community.


Another way to expand your worldview is simply to look for people who are in need. You may not have the opportunity to notice certain populations if your everyday life doesn't put them in your path. Make the effort to branch out and look for those who are hurting or struggling in your community.


Have you ever watched a heart-wrenching news story and felt powerless to do anything about it? It's likely that there is some way you can help; you just don't know what it is yet. Work to improve your knowledge of the effects that racial inequity, transphobia, misogyny, poverty and similar pervasive societal issues have on your city. The more you learn, the more you will understand how to address them.


Sometimes seeing what others are doing can inspire you to pitch in. Make a list of the nonprofits in town with which you have never volunteered. Look at their websites to find more information. Many organizations even offer meetings for potential volunteers to help them gauge their interest. Choose a few new places to visit. You may discover your next passion!


The rut you're in may be due to the fact that the groups you work with or the teams you are part of at church haven't done anything in a while. If this is the case, contact a few other members and start planning your next event. You don't have to have all the details ironed out to put it on the calendar. Knowing when you are going to volunteer next is often the only motivation needed to renew your enthusiasm.


It's easy to fill up your planner with new things to do. It takes a little more effort to find the things that are especially meaningful to you. If you feel overwhelmed during this process, pause to consider your core values. Why do you want to get involved in this particular way or with this specific group? If you don't have a good answer, consider choosing another project.

It's common for even meaningful service to feel stale after a while. By expanding your worldview a little, you can find new ways to visualize your place in it.

Category: Aid

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