Volunteers who bleed

  • Sumo

When the needle was in my vein, I had a question.

It was at the blood bank, so things are healthy (thanks for wondering). It came to me that giving blood is good, but it’s not the centre of life.

So why do people do it? There are many good things, most of which aren’t necessary. How do people get started?

The same question crops up in church, too.

How do people start to get involved? That is, move from passive but content consumers to the ranks of those who give time and effort.

Back to the giving blood, I know my own answer: I copied my dad.

He had his own reasons to start, but I was copying him. I know he hated needles, but his attitude showed he thought this was worthwhile. So, without thinking about it in any way, I ‘caught’ his involvement.

Since then, the reasons have grown and deepened. I know more about blood and the need for donations (the Red Cross is good at educating about this). I can see how donating can fit into my particular working week (I get great reading done each time, so target what I want to take along). When I was at Bible college, I even timed it to get a free breakfast once a fortnight.

Yet the initial reason was mimicry. Copying my dad.

I’d say this is a powerful way to have people volunteer in church, too. If the majority is contentedly passive, no manner of passionate appeal from the front will change much. But if the majority, or a sizeable minority, is gladly involved then friends will copy them.

It’s another reminder that church is about everyone and needs everyone. Approved leaders are part of this, but only a part. It’s as a church, or as a people, that we progress and grow.