Serving During a One-Day Work Retreat

Your Worship Team has offered themselves to serve. What follows will give you an idea of what you can expect from a One-Day Work Retreat with Good Works. It is our preference that there not be any surprises for your group regarding the projects with which you will be involved. If there are any changes to the schedule, we will discuss these with you. We want you to be comfortable with what we are assigning to your group.

The vision for Worship Teams: Transformation

We have four goals that we are seeking to accomplish in your group and through the presence of your group with us:

#4 – Accomplishing necessary tasks for GW and the community, but the task is a catalyst for transforming relationships.
#3 – Nurture your Faith Community by living and working together.
#2 – Allow service to become an expression of your faith.
#1 – Learn from one another. It is our hope that you will take something with you from Good Works back to your own community. We also expect you will leave something behind and that we will learn something from you and through you that God is trying to teach us about this work entrusted to us.

While you are coming to serve with us and help with some very real needs that we have, completing a project is not our primary goal for you. Instead of coming into this Work Retreat with a mind to accomplish something, come into it with an openness to learn from people in this community. This will have a far more lasting impact on you personally.

When you arrive, we will lead a devotional time about some of the issues we are wrestling with and provide a brief orientation to Good Works for your group. While time constraints will dictate what we discuss in the orientation, we do want to provide you with an idea of who we are and how you fit into this community. Keith Wasserman, the Executive Director for Good Works, enjoys spending time with our Worship Teams and may do this orientation. Most often, one of the other staff will do this. Occasionally we can make arrangements for you to get a tour of the Good Works Luhrig Road property or the Timothy House, our shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Please let us know if this is a priority for you. This will affect how we schedule your time with us. At the very least, we will describe the people you will serve and the projects you will be working on. We want you to know how these are important to the overall vision for Good Works.

Good Works Staff or Interns and Your Group
Your group will be working alongside our staff or interns in some capacity. They have several objectives in their leadership role with your group.

  1. To facilitate the formation of relationships. Much has been said about this already, but we recognize that there are some people in your group that will be uncomfortable meeting the people we are serving. The staff or intern will seek to help you to get over this hurdle. In most cases they have met the person you are spending time. In some cases the interns are struggling with this themselves. But they have intentionally placed themselves into this uncomfortable role in order to allow God to work in their lives and foster personal growth.
  2. Generally supervise your project. In some cases the staff or intern will be adequately skilled to lead the specific task to be accomplished on the project. In other cases we will be relying on the leadership of your group to accomplish the task. In either situation, the staff or intern will provide general oversight of what is happening on the project. We are training them in the types of things that should and should not happen during a time of service. Please respect their leadership. For teen groups, we will require an adult from your group to be present with your teens at all times and ask you to assign people appropriate to the project. (While it is not our preference, from time to time we must leave a group at someone’s home without any staff or intern. Most often this happens because we do not have enough people to supervise the number of people in your group. Usually we will make a decision about this before you come and let you know that this will happen on a certain project.)
  3. Assist you with any needs you might have in the process of doing the project. We want to make sure that you have the materials and tools needed to accomplish the project. The staff or interns are responsible to make sure this happens. Our goal is to be ready before your group is ready to go. However, often as we are helping someone we encounter something we did not expect and must get the needed items.
  4. Minimize the possibility that someone will get hurt. Safety is a major concern of our staff and interns. They have been trained to identify unsafe situations and interrupt any behavior that might result in someone getting hurt. You will be asked to read “Safety Review Sheets” for the specific equipment you are going to operate. It is not our desire to insult or offend anyone in your group, but to make sure that no one gets hurt. Please help us do this by informing the members of your group to also have a mindset for safety.
  5. To facilitate mentoring opportunities. We want to see the skilled members of your group teach the less skilled. This can be frustrating for some people, especially those who are focused on finishing the project. Recognizing our roles as mentors is an important part of what Jesus meant when he said, “Go and make disciples.”
  6. To not allow horseplay to get out of hand. While we want your group to have a good time, we will not allow a situation where someone could get hurt, equipment will get damaged or resources wasted. We do not consider it appropriate to have a paint fight, splattering paint on people or on property. It is a waste of resources, especially to someone with limited income. Please help us monitor these kinds of things.

Our staff or interns are not seeking to exhaust your group. There are times when the work will be hard, but we are not taskmasters. We will leave to your discretion the decisions of which people should or should not be working and how much they should be working. We will simply seek to have your group members join us in the task at hand. We will leave the prompting to work to the leadership in the group. Some members will need to be told to take it easy because they are working too hard for the heat of the day or may hurt someone as they are working. You will see others who are resting and you know that is a good thing for them. You may determine that others in the group may not be working in a way that will accomplish your goals and you will have to direct them in the task at hand. Others may be goofing off or horsing around or not handling the equipment properly and will need a correction from you. Each person is different. We want to work alongside you in the development of your Worship Team. You have our permission to speak with us about any task that you feel is inappropriate for your group.

Other Volunteers
In the course of a year Good Works has about 1,000 volunteers serving with us. Every one of these volunteers makes a difference in the life of our community in some way. It is very likely that while you are here as a volunteer, you will be serving with one or more of these other volunteers connected to Good Works. This is not an accident. When possible, we very much like to see our volunteers serve together and discover each other. What follows is a brief description of some of these volunteers.

You will be serving with individuals who have made a long-term commitment to us. They are seeking a growing, educational experience in this ministry. In some cases they may be in supervisory roles. They are providing leadership in service for your group. They are the connecting point between your group and Good Works. However, they may not necessarily have the skills to do the specific task that has been assigned to you. In these cases, we are counting on the members of your group to provide project leadership. You will most likely have contact with people in the following internships:

Other Groups
Occasionally we will have two groups serving together on the same day. It may be that the first group that signed up was a small group and we felt another small group would work well with them. This could be an Ohio University group that is seeking to volunteer in the community. Depending on the make-up of these two groups, we may mix your group with another or keep you separate.

GW Volunteers
These individuals often volunteer with us once a month. They not only want to make a contribution through a regular commitment, but they also want to connect to a community.

Transformation Station Volunteers
This volunteer opportunity gives people the chance to get a resource they need while also helping someone else. After completing their volunteer time, they are eligible to receive donated vehicles, appliances, furniture, bicycles and food. This gives you a chance to not only help our friends struggling with poverty, but to also serve with them! Some of these individuals have been assigned community service from the courts.

Doing the Work
While the projects are an essential help to Good Works and to our community, we do not feel they are an end in themselves. Rather, each is a catalyst to something greater—the formation of relationships and the building of your faith community. Your act of service together becomes a catalyst not just for individual growth but also for community growth. God is seeking to form you into a people who choose unity to follow Him.

We are probably less concerned with finishing a project than your group is. While it is nice to come and finish a project and see what has been accomplished, it is not our primary goal. There are many other volunteers coming after you who can finish an incomplete project.

We do not consider a Work Retreat successful when a group comes, finishes a project and leaves. If the people in your group have not made a relational connection with someone in our community, the Work Retreat is not considered a “success” in our mind. There are other things that need to happen as a project is being completed.

All that being said, we want to do all our work with excellence as unto the Lord as a worship offering to Him. It is not helpful to anyone to do our work poorly for the sake of forming good relationships. What we are saying is that the quality of the task and the quality of the relationship must be kept in balance.

Types of Projects
There are about as many types of projects as there are groups, but we can give you an idea of the type of work you might be doing from the accomplishments of past groups.

Some groups have installed hearths and built storage sheds. Others have done specific construction, electrical and plumbing work in our facilities. Mechanics have worked on our vehicles. Many have helped Good Works by caring for the yards and garden and splitting wood. Other groups have painted, cleaned, moved, and restored parts of our facilities that needed some refurbishing. In the past years volunteers have built:

  • The addition onto the Timothy House
  • Our Administration Building with a Bed and Breakfast
  • A picnic shelter
  • A retreat cabin
  • Playground areas for children
  • A bridge
  • The Transformation Station
  • The stage for our amphitheater
  • Woodsheds
  • Recycling bins
  • Hope Center

No doubt you will be building on the work of previous groups. We have found that each group has a unique set of standards in going about their work, as you will also. Each group has sought to do their project to the best of their ability under our leadership. Please respect the efforts of the groups that have gone before you, as you will want others to respect your work.

Part of the ministry of Good Works is to serve our community through Neighbors Helping Neighbors. We will plan to make this a part of your experience with us. We have a wide range of projects for which we help people, such as mowing lawns, cleaning, yard work, building ramps, replacing bathroom floors, electrical and plumbing tasks. Please let us know if you have any preferences or ideas for a particular project.

Good Works Gardens

Good Works Gardens is first and foremost a context for connecting people from all walks of life. Relationships are the focus of this initiative  rather than the gardens themselves. In connection with Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Good Works Gardens provides an opportunity for volunteers to partner with homeowners and community organizations to cultivate gardens in Athens County. Many of our garden recipients are elderly, experiencing disability or are otherwise unable to provide the labor that a garden requires. Good Works Gardens attempts to satisfy this need while encouraging relationships that bridge the divide between socio-economic classes, generational and racial groups.

We also maintain a garden on the Good Works Luhrig Road Property. The Good Works Garden is similar to the community gardens in that its primary purpose is to provide a context for a variety of volunteers and community members to cross paths. The secondary purpose of the Good Works Garden is to provide fresh, organic produce to other Good Works initiatives such as Friday Night Life, The Timothy House, Summer Lunch, The Hannah House and The Transformation Station.  Good Works Gardens is supported by volunteers from a variety of Good Works initiatives including Work Retreats, Service Living, The Teen Agricultural Internship, and The Transformation Station.

Although we have many needs that we are seeking to fill, we recognize that you are coming with some specific goals for your group. We want to incorporate those into your time of service with us.

We welcome groups of all skill levels. There is much to be done on the facilities and properties requiring general skills that can be easily taught and supervised. We are often in need of groups that are willing to mow lawns, weed gardens, split wood and clean.

We are also thankful for those who bring specific skills to serve at Good Works such as floor layers, masons, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, etc. Please let us know about the skill level of your group and any persons with skills that can be employed on particular specialized projects. These skills are an asset to us and we want to take advantage of them to the extent the individual is willing. We are extremely grateful for those who, working day after day in their fields, share their trade skills with us on a weekend to help us develop this ministry.

As an organization, we can promote Work Retreats in two ways. We could promote our need for volunteers by specifically describing the project we need help with. Though sometimes we do this, we generally prefer not to. Since we are a ministry focusing on people and relationships, we feel strongly that starting with the project gets the focus off of these relationships. We want you to come to a community to serve others, not just to do a project. We also value those who are gifted in visitation. While we all have role in this, we recognize there are those who bring life to others through their visiting ministry.

Our preference is to promote the ministry of Good Works as a whole. Then we will generally describe the various types of initiatives that you could be involved with, determining the specific project after we know the skill level of your group. We want to know about you first. Who are you as a community and what do you have to offer our community? What are your goals for your group? Who are you trying to become as a faith community? As we learn about you, we can then prayerfully entrust to you the needs of our friends who have sought assistance from us or to assign specific projects on Good Works properties.

This is why the Team Profile is so important to us. This information tells us about you and the unique people that are offering themselves to serve. Occasionally leaders will give us a profile with a list of names but listing no areas of interest or skills. This makes it difficult for us to put you into places of service that are most appropriate for your Worship Team. The more information you provide us, the better we can know you before you come.

Tools and Materials
Most of the tools and equipment owned by Good Works have been donated to us. We do our best to keep our equipment safe and in working order, avoiding those frustrating scenarios of getting onto a project site and having equipment that does not work. Unfortunately, this does happen. Please gives us grace and make the best out of a situation that we would rather did not happen.

While we have the tools that will be needed for most of the projects we do, we have found that people are more comfortable with their own tools. In addition, we do not have many trade specific tools, in which case that individual will want to bring these with them. In either case, thank you for sharing your resources with us and with our volunteers. This is indeed a great blessing to us.

Good Works will usually have the materials needed for your project. These are paid for with the donations you give to us. Special projects may require materials that are beyond our budget. Please let us know if your group could help with these materials.

May all that we do be an offering unto the Lord, to bring glory to Him that together we might experience the kingdom of God.