A Family Serving Together During a Work Retreat
Your family has offered themselves to serve. What follows will give you an idea of what you can expect during a Work Retreat with Good Works. Please feel free to discuss any possibilities for projects or needs with the Good Works staff member coordinating your Work Retreat. It is our preference that there not be any surprises for your family 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 family.
The vision for Family Worship Teams: Transformation
We have four goals that we are seeking to accomplish with your family and your presence with us:
#4 – Accomplishing necessary tasks for GW and the community, but the task is a catalyst for transforming relationships.
#3 – Nurture the faith of your family by living and serving 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 we will learn from you those things 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, doing a project does not lead to spiritual transformation. 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.
Good Works Staff or Interns and Your Family
Your family will be serving alongside our staff or interns in some capacity. They have several objectives in their leadership role with your family.
- To facilitate the formation of relationships. Much has been said about this already, but we recognize that there are some people in your family 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 serving. 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.
- 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 family to accomplish the task. In either situation, the staff or intern will provide general oversight of what is happening at the home of the person you are serving or the project you are doing on Good Works properties. We are training them in the types of things that should and should not happen during a time of service. Please respect their leadership. While it is not our preference, from time to time we must leave a family to serve without any staff or intern present. Most often this happens with groups because we do not have enough people to supervise the number of volunteers that are present. Usually we will make a decision about this before you come and let you know that this will happen, but sometimes due to variables outside of our control we must make adjustments the day you are with us.
- 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 you are ready to go. However, inevitably we get into a project and encounter something we did not expect and must get the needed items.
- Minimize the possibility that someone will get hurt. Safety is a major concern for 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 you, but to make sure that no one gets hurt.
- To facilitate mentoring opportunities. We want to see the skilled members of your family 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.” As parents, you are naturally placed in mentoring roles with your children. We want to encourage this as much as possible. As teachable moments present themselves we want you to take advantage of them.
- To not allow horseplay to get out of hand. While we want your family to have good time with us, 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 family. 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 family join us in the task at hand. We will leave the prompting to work to your leadership. We want to work alongside you in the development of your family. You have our permission to speak with us about any task that you feel is inappropriate for your family.
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 on a project 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 family to provide project leadership. You will most likely have contact with the following internships:
Occasionally you will be present when there is another group participating in a Work Retreat. Though this is common, we generally do not mix a family with the members of another group. We desire that the family would serve together. But we want you to know that these other groups may be present while you are with us. They are the ones who are providing your meals.
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 family. Your act of service together becomes a catalyst not just for individual growth but 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 family 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 family have not made a relational connection with someone in our community, the Work Retreat is not considered a “success” in our mind.
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 are both important.
Skills and Types of Projects
When a family comes to serve with us, our objective is to enable you to serve together. This often means doing a project requiring less skill so everyone can participate in a way that is appropriate for them. While the project is still important, the focus shifts from the project to providing you and your family the opportunity to serve together.
In the past, families have come to serve by raking leaves for our elderly friends, sorting food, cleaning, mowing, yard work, gardening, or participating in an appropriate construction project. These decisions are all based on the ages and skills of your family as well as the goals you have outlined for your Family Work Retreat.
We have found that for the task-oriented individual, this can be a bit of a challenge. Their focus is on accomplishing the task at hand, which is a very real need for someone or for Good Works. We want to allow you to set aside the agenda of the task and provide you with time to take advantage of teachable moments with your children.
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 to 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 often more comfortable with their own tools. In addition, we do not have many trade specific tools, in which case you will want to bring these with you. 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 the project you are doing on our properties. These are paid for with the donations groups give to us. Special projects may require materials that are beyond our budget. Please let us know if your family could help with these materials.
We are not able to fund materials needed for Neighbors Helping Neighbors. It is expected that the person seeking assistance pays for these materials themselves. This may be an area your family could help with while you are with us. If you are interested in making a separate donation toward materials for Neighbors Helping Neighbors, please let us know as soon as possible. For some people, this makes the difference in helping them with their project.