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Leaders of Faith-Based Volunteers Update

Travis Salisbury

For many years, the sector network for MAVA affiliated faith-based organizations was the Directors of Church Volunteer Ministries (DCVM). A little over a year and a half ago, a core team of DCVM members met to discern the future of the sector network. The “Great Recession” eliminated almost entirely the role of “director of volunteer ministries” in most congregations—with responsibilities allocated to other existing staff members. Membership in DCVM declined dramatically from 2008 onward.

In 2016, leaders from DCVM began to wrestle with the identity of the sector network. Was it for “church” ministers or was the appeal greater to all those in faith-based settings? After much conversation, discernment, and visioning DCVM matured into the Leaders of Faith-Based Volunteers in Minnesota (LFBV).

Leaders. Recognizing that the position of “director” for volunteer ministry is no longer a reality for most congregations, the core team found wisdom in the term leader. Leader allows for the role to be professional volunteer engagement professional (VEP) or a dedicated non-staff volunteer leader. The term “leader” allows the sector network to be inclusive of all who have care in the management and engagement of volunteers in the sector.

Faith-Based. While honoring the Christian roots of this particular sector network, the core team discerned that the network was to embrace all faith traditions that have a home in Minnesota. This discernment also opened up the network to non-congregational settings. Faith-based volunteers serve the state in food shelves, shelters, outreach and justice ministries, hospitals and care centers, and so much more. By identifying the sector network with all those who serve through a lens that is faith-based, LFBV seeks to broaden support for and increase the care of volunteers and volunteer engagement professionals throughout the state.

Volunteers. Previously, DCVM was a network that primarily supported the staff volunteer engagement professional. By broadening our welcome to both staff and to volunteer leaders, LFBV seeks to strengthen networking within and between parishes, synagogues, mosques, temples, as well as hospitals, schools, and other service industries that serve in a faith-based setting.

Minnesota. DCVM lived out its mission most effectively in the metro area. LFBV truly wishes to hold up the sector network throughout Minnesota. Through the new district councils as well as in collaboration with denominational leadership, LFBV seeks to serve the entire state.

The last year and half encountered a grieving for a volunteer professional culture that was lost in our congregations when DCVM was strong but this time was also one of rejoicing in the possibility of the future. How? Our charter now stands that the Leaders of Faith-Based Volunteers is a networking organization for supporting and empowering faith-based volunteer professionals and leaders by utilizing MAVA's educational opportunities, applying it to the faith-based setting, and, fostering collaboration and networking.

LFBV stands with all people of faith in Minnesota in empowering and supporting volunteers, regardless of denominational affiliation. LFBV aligns itself closely with MAVA in participation with educational programing and networking opportunities—while providing space to interpret that learning through a faith-based lens.

LFBV encourages all MAVA members who serve in a faith-based setting to be sure your membership profile is marked as “faith-based” to receive timely and appropriate communication. LFBV will schedule educational and networking opportunities in collaboration with MAVA events throughout the year. LFBV will work closely with MAVA to be sure faith-based programing is provided throughout the year as well as at the annual conference and national summit.

There is extreme excitement about this new partnership with MAVA and was to collaborate and support all those who serve faith-based volunteers. For more information (and to be sure you’re on the mailing list) please contact Travis Salisbury and Laurel Jacobsen at faithbased@mavanetwork.org.