Maximize the presence of United Methodist witnesses

February 1, 2018

By The Reverend Marji Hill, Deacon

In our churches, January is a crucial time for new leaders. Equipping the laity for mission and ministry is often a primary focus in the first few months of the year. This is the time when new leaders who have answered the call and said “YES” are now beginning to ask “HOW?”
Here in far western North Carolina the HOW question is even more difficult to answer, because we have so few resources. But things are changing. While theoretically we know there are plenty of opportunities for the volunteers in our churches to get engaged out in the community, finding them can require the sleuthing skills of Sherlock Holmes. Not only do most people not know what the nonprofits need, they don’t know even know how to reach out and contact them
That is where a cutting edge ministry started by the Hinton Rural Life Center steps in to fill the gap. A brand new volunteer portal database has been created and local nonprofits, schools, and government agencies are encouraged to post their all of their opportunities there. Imagine, if you will, a giant catalogue of volunteer opportunities that you can search online – and if you see one you like, you just click on it. That is what we are trying to build.

The possibilities for youth groups looking for service opportunities are staggering. Skilled retirees looking for a way to serve using their spiritual gifts would be able to find and connect easily. College students with requirements for service hours won’t have to make endless calls before finding something that fits with their busy schedules.

Churches will be able to use the tool as well to coordinate their own volunteer management for special events. Do you need to find volunteers to work shifts at “Breakfast with Santa” or the community garage sale? You can create your own event and keep track of who is coming and when. 

Thanks to a grant from Duke Endowment, this tool will enable the local United Methodist churches (as well as other churches in our area) to maximize the presence of United Methodist witnesses in as many places as possible in this quiet rural place – where the need is great.
Want to know more?  Check out the site at or call Rev. Marji Hill, Deacon at the Hinton Rural Life Center, an SEJ mission institution.