From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ABCUSA: Volunteers in Mission Celebrates First Decade

From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <>
Date Thu, 30 Jan 2003 08:03:31 -0500

by Susan Gottshall, American Baptist National Ministries

American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 1/30/03)--When American
Baptist National Ministries launched Volunteers In Mission (VIM), the
program coordinated 32 volunteers in ministries throughout the United States
and Puerto Rico in its first year. That was 1993. By the end of 2002 more
than 1,000 volunteers had been involved in this home mission
program-individually or as part of mission groups.

As National Ministries celebrates the first decade of Volunteers In Mission,
60 individual mission volunteers are listed in January's appointed
missionary calendar--about a third more than the number of volunteers in the
program's entire first year.

Volunteers In Mission has enabled and coordinated the volunteer work of
American Baptists--matching skills and interests with ministry
opportunities--since the program's inception, first through individual
missionaries and mission groups, then later through Home Mission Action
Teams sponsored by NEW LIFE 2010.

When the Red River overflowed its banks in 1997, forcing 90 percent of Grand
Forks, N.D., residents from their homes, VIM compiled an extensive list of
churches and individuals offering to help with recovery. When Hurricane
Georges ripped through Puerto Rico in 1998, VIM recruited and coordinated 25
work groups--with more than 350 volunteers--to help storm victims rebuild
their homes, businesses and churches.

VIM groups have completed home repair projects for seniors and low-income
families in Appalachia and traveled to Los Angeles to rebuild neighborhoods
destroyed in civil disturbance. VIM volunteers also participate in community
development through inner city Christian centers. They teach English as a
Second Language, minister through prison visitation and reentry programs,
help with new church planting, work at child care facilities and summer
camps, and assist with college administration.

In 2000 the Volunteer Skills Network--an electronic listing of volunteers
and their mission interests, skills and availability--joined the VIM
program, forming a database for matching mission workers with ministry

Carole Dieciedue, National Ministries' Volunteers In Mission director, says
she has seen, over and over again, how serving as a VIM volunteer can be "a
life changing experience" by providing a deeper understanding of what it
means to minister in church and society today. These volunteers, she says,
"provide not only valuable skills to a mission organization, but also a
sense of faith and commitment that demonstrates God's love in tangible

To find out how to be part of the next decade of American Baptist home
mission with National Ministries' Volunteers In Mission program, call
1-800-ABC-3USA/x2449 or log on to


American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (800)ABC-3USA x2077
/ (610)768-2077; fax: (610)768-2320;;

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