Tag Archives: Volunteering

Volunteers are Awesome!

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By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Have you ever thought about how many volunteers are serving on any given Sunday in our church?  Much of church ministry is done by people who willingly give of their time, talents, heart, and love.  This equates to a lot of volunteers each week.  In Heroes Gate alone, we have over 95 people helping children to be safe, to be loved, and to learn and grow in their faith every Sunday.

Over the course of a year, these volunteers are serving a lot of hours.  They don’t do it for money, fame, attention, or any tangible gain.   Most are just excited to invest in the next generation.

I’d like to challenge you and your family to show your appreciation for the volunteers in your life this week.  They might be part of Heroes Gate, but you could also show appreciation for volunteers with your child’s school or sports team or elsewhere.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Make a card or draw a picture
  2. Create an encouraging poster
  3. Bring a yummy treat
  4. Say thank you in person with a big hug!
  5. Make a short 10 second video saying thanks
  6. Snap a photo or selfie with the volunteer and send them a copy of the photo or even make a thank you card out of it
  7. Share a story of how your child was impacted or encouraged by a volunteer
  8. Sing a song

I’m sure you could think of many more ideas, but these are a good start.  Another great way to appreciate volunteers is to keep them in prayer, asking for encouragement, protection, peace, wisdom, and joy for them and their families.

Take the volunteer appreciation challenge and bless those who serve you and your family!

 

Giving Back

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By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Giving back is important all year long, but the holiday season seems to bring out that spirit more than other times of the year. It is wonderful to model to our children that giving to others is important. To help you out, we have come up with a few ideas and links. Have fun with it!

Operation Joy– grab an ornament off the tree in the Heroes Gate area and help a family in need celebrate Christmas by providing a gift and/or a meal. Gifts are due back to HG no later than December 11th.

Operation Christmas Child- shoe boxes for kids in need. You can find more information at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

Create a Christmas bucket list- here are some fun ideas! http://www.thedatingdivas.com/printable-service-bucket-lists/

Christmas Service Advent idea- this one is good if you are feeling creative! http://www.thedatingdivas.com/printable-service-bucket-lists/

Sign up to ring the bellhttp://salvationarmynorth.org/volunteer/bellringing/

Other ideas:

Caroling in your neighborhood or in a nursing home

Serving at a shelter

Play “secret Santa” for a neighbor in need

Serve at Feed My Starving Children

Drop a donation off at the Ronald McDonald house

Shovel snow for a neighbor

There are so many fun ways to give back. Some cost very little but require your time. Some cost a bit but will be a huge blessing. Giving back is living out the Kingdom and modeling God’s love to those around you. Be blessed and be a blessing this Christmas season!

September Preview Pack

Here’s a look ahead to what we’ll be learning in Heroes Gate this September:

September 4: Toddlers will discover the Bible is God’s Big Story through a fun, interactive video while Preschool-6th grade will have an extra-fun morning with a very special surprise guest!

September 11: Fall curriculum begins in Heroes Gate! Toddlers and younger Preschoolers (Monkeys and Lions) will watch a final video lesson on how God loves everyone and wants us all to know Him while Preschool-6th grade will be gathered together for one big lesson on the Big Story of the Bible.

September 18: Toddlers-Kindergarten will return to the Story Fort where Paco and his friends will walk them through the story of Creation. 1st-4th graders will also hear the Creation story and be reminded that God loves us, no matter what. Club 56 kids will kick off their year with a discussion on the topic: What is God Really Like?

September 25: Toddlers-4th Grade will hear the sad story of Cain and Abel and learn that it’s important to choose love rather than allowing anger and hate to grow. Club 56 kids will talk about the question: How is God different from other gods?

As we head into this next school year, we are hoping you will prayerfully consider joining us in Heroes Gate. We have openings in nearly every area of our ministry (from infants to elementary, from worship to teach). For more information, you can contact Bethany at bblick@whchurch.org or 651-287-2714 or stop by the HG registration desk on a Sunday morning. If you’re ready to go, you can sign up by following this link!

A Colorful Village

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By Ruth Richmond, Associate Worship Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

God cares for us through the willing hands of people around us. It’s his design to accomplish his purposes in partnership with humans.  One stunningly beautiful result of this design is that the gifts, talents, faith and even the interests of the people that surround us swirl their colors into our lives. God uses others to help us discover talents and have experiences that reveal our own capacities for things like faith, love and strength.

I have a very colorful testimony not because I took a dramatic turn away from evil, but because all of my life willing Christians dipped, speckled, swirled, and buffed me. They enabled me to catch the light and reflect it in my own way so that I could bring prismatic light to dark places. I was shown my strength and was deeply, honestly connected to the love of God through the Christ followers around me.

My general trajectory was set by the age of six or eight because of the early influencers around me at church.  I wonder what I would be doing today if I’d had different people around me at church as a child?  Don’t you love looking back at your life and realizing a new thread of the narrative that God was weaving in all along the way? It’s a proof of His love that He works so much together for our good regardless of whether we will ever notice or thank Him.

Speaking of that, thank you God, for the rag-tag group of farmers and small town folk at the First Presbyterian Church in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. (Amen!)

Wow, God – thanks for Toots, who taught me about Jesus’ birthday and sang with us in pre-school. Thanks for Bessie, the quiet gray widow who took on the challenge of teaching rambunctious young grade schoolers!  (Amen!)

Thanks for the Pastor and his wife who began to lead the church when I was six. And that she started a choir for the children. Thanks that she was willing to stick with it even though we were squirrely. And thanks that she noticed I could always start a song in just about the right key, because then I noticed that about me, too, and started thinking of myself as musical. (Amen!)

Thank you for the local band teacher John, and his wife, Kay: Deeply passionate educators who joined our church and shared their interest in music contagiously. Thank you for the clarity of their love and for their obedience to leave us when you called them to minister at a school in the Philippines. (Amen!)

She (Kay) was my first and, therefore, my favorite piano teacher. My lessons were right after school. She prayed with me and had me memorize scripture verses. She taught me to play hymns and insisted that I sing them simultaneously. She taught me to write down musical thoughts on paper. I was eight when we started and thirteen when she left. By then, the path was level before me. At seventeen, I wrote my first five songs for piano, all in one sitting. At nineteen, I started working toward a music degree at Bethel College.

Now, I feel closest to God when I am writing musical thoughts on paper. I have worked for fifteen years singing, playing piano, and bringing music to this church. I have little kids of my own to share music with.  And, I’ve just been tasked with supporting and developing the worship area in Heroes Gate, so I have truly come full circle!”

My experience proves that when it comes to kids, it “takes a village”. A village full of willing, loving adults. Not because kids are difficult, but because they’re curious and clear: Ready to have the color and love of their village swirled into them.

I’m going to use this blog to give a little pitch! I am currently looking for accomplished musicians who can support the kids’ worship time in Heroes Gate. The village is forming now. If Woodland Hills is your church, please seek God about joining me and then contact me at rrichmond@whchurch.org.

We Need YOU!

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We are gearing up for a fantastic summer in Heroes Gate, but in order for that to happen, we need your help! We are giving our incredible school year volunteers the summer off, and we are looking for new volunteers to fill their shoes while they’re taking a break. We invite you to prayerfully consider helping in Heroes Gate over the upcoming months. Here’s the scoop on what you can expect if you decide to volunteer with us:

  • You can choose how often you volunteer and which days and Sunday service work best for you
  • We have four age-groups from which you can choose to work with: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool, and Elementary, or, if you’d prefer to work as a one-on-one buddy with a special needs child, we have spots open with that, as well
  • We’ll have yummy snacks ready to help power your morning with the kids
  • You’ll help the children of Woodland Hills know they are loved and important to others as well as Jesus

We’re so excited for this summer and have a lot of fun in store for the coming weeks. We hope you’ll choose to be a part of it all!  To sign up online, click on this link, or you can contact Bethany Blick at bblick@whchurch.org.

Thank You, Volunteers!

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By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Our school year has almost wrapped up, and summer is nearly upon us. The regular volunteers that you see week after week will soon be on summer hiatus. We as a Heroes Gate staff would like to thank our regular volunteers for all they have done over the past year and send them off with blessings and prayers as they take a break for the summer.

We know there are many wonderful stories about how our volunteers have blessed your family throughout this year. Whether it was going above and beyond to make sure your child felt loved, a volunteer’s big, welcoming smile, or a hug or a personal note, I am sure you have experienced care from our volunteers in some way this year. Our volunteers are awesome and give so much to the kids of Heroes Gate! A few stories we have heard and seen this past year include volunteers setting up snack like a tea party for the little girls, playing hide and go seek in the room, bringing ice cream treats, helping out with Club 56 fun nights, and providing plants for Mother’s Day.

Our volunteers partner with you each week to provide a safe and loving environment for your kids to learn about Jesus. They pray for your kids and strategize with us to make Sunday a great day for your kids so they learn to love Jesus.

This Sunday, we’re excited to provide cards for you or your child to write his or her leader a note. Would you take some time this week or on Sunday at the card station to thank the volunteers who have poured love and care into your child this year? Would you pray with us that we are able to staff the rooms for summer so that no child is turned away? And would you consider giving 4 Sundays this summer so other children can hear about Jesus? We’d love to have you join us for a fun and exciting summer in Heroes Gate!  Sign up is easy and online!  Or you can chat with any HG staff on a Sunday morning, and we’d be happy to talk about what summer opportunities might fit you best.

We have such wonderful volunteers! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you have done for the kids in Heroes Gate!

**Parents and Volunteers: Tell us how you or your child have been blessed this year in the comment section below!

Summer Preview Pack

Here’s a look ahead to what we’ll be learning in Heroes Gate this summer:

May 31-June 28, July 12-19: Summer curriculum begins in Heroes Gate! Preschool-5th grade will begin a new summer series called Metamorphosis in which we’ll be looking at various Proverbs and how they can help us to be “transformed” into the kind of Jesus-followers God made us to be.

July 5, 26-August 30: Preschoolers will be heading out on some “Bible Adventures” and learning how we can follow Jesus while Kindergarten-5th grade will be blasting off to join the crew of Konnect Space Station as they help kids around the world know the message of God’s love.

As 6th graders have now “graduated” into the Echo youth group, we do not have lessons for them this summer. However, if your 6th grader would like to volunteer in Heroes Gate as a Student Helper, contact Paula Bowlby at pbowlby@whchurch.org.

We are also looking for adults to volunteer with us as our regular volunteers take a break for the summer. We’d love for you to consider volunteering 4 times over the coming summer months and helping the kids of Heroes Gate to know God’s love and their place in His story! To sign up, follow this link!