Our Father Lutheran: Margaret's Story
How Our Father Lutheran Invites Members into Ministry
3. Margaret's Story: A Musician who loves Volunteers
Margaret Hinchey sees her service to her Lord's church primarily through her music. "I've always been involved in music in the church," she says. She has served Our Father Lutheran Church in Centennial, Colorado, for 20 years.
I think of Margaret as a church volunteerism guru. In 1994, she and Marlene Wilson led a series of workshops for the Michigan District Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I was in attendance as a rookie Director of Volunteer Ministry, eating up every word.
Recruiting volunteers is a significant part of most church workers' responsibilities. Trained as a Director of Christian Education at Concordia, St. Paul, Minnesota, Margaret's first call was to do youth, music and education in a parish.
In this and other churches, she became so skilled at planning youth retreats and events that Group Publishing in Loveland, Colorado, hired her to run their Youth Ministry University, a training program for youth leaders. She met Marlene Wilson, a nationally-known church volunteerism writer and trainer, when she recruited her as a speaker for a youth leader training event. Then Margaret sat in on Marlene's week-long class; Margaret's first official volunteerism training. By the time Marlene was asked to lead the Michigan workshops, she invited Margaret to assist. Their partnership leading volunteerism workshops continued over the years.
Along the way, Margaret picked up a Masters degree in Adult Christian Community Development at Regis University in Denver. The topic, says Margaret, has been extremely helpful as she works with her musician volunteers.
Margaret involves 175 people in her music program, in a congregation which averages 500 in weekly worship. "We bring them up through the ranks," she explains. "I appreciate the time they give. There are so many other demands on their time - school, work, athletics, etc. I take their gift of time very seriously."
Looking at the volunteerism big picture in the church at large, Margaret sees both opportunity and challenge.
"In using the gifts and talents of our people, we've got a long way to go. The challenge for the church is that people are becoming more protective of their time. They are less eager to say yes to long-term commitments, and even short term commitments."
"The emphasis on servant events is a hopeful sign. Servant events have great potential. There are more opportunities out there."
"I see technology as a great asset to volunteerism. It provides systems for keeping track of people. We use our projection system to let people know of volunteer opportunities. And it aids communication when I can send out one email to 300 people."
"One thing churches are missing is the connection of people to what they are good at in their regular life. What do people like to do and what are they good at? People run computer programs and PowerPoint at work. When they do it at church, we can bring the creative edge and the faith edge together. The church can benefit from the transference of knowledge our people have gained elsewhere."