Called to Think

HeadshotVolunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Parker

Onboarding new volunteers takes fighting our culture of chronic busyness. So how do we find our volunteer force?

Much of the time, we don’t. There are individuals in the community who make it a personal or professional goal to call people to volunteering.

Jonathan Parker is one such person. Through his role as Director of City Involvement at Fellowship Greenville, he has connected us with multiple volunteer teams. Recently, we were able to chat with him and find out how he brings more awesome volunteers on board.

How did you first hear about Rebuild Upstate?

“I attended a Leadership Greenville class with Chris Manley. Chris presented on (then) ReWigo Ministries and the need for home repair in the Upstate.”

What led you to connect that first prospective volunteer with us?

“One of Fellowship Greenville’s (and my) mantras is, ‘serve with no expectation of return.’ After hearing from Chris about Rebuild Upstate, I felt confident that any volunteer I sent would be doing that by making homes livable and safe for individuals who had no other means to do so.”

What feedback have you gotten from participants in Rebuild Upstate projects?

“My favorite bit of feedback was:

‘When we arrived, there was a need. When we left, that need had been met.’

It captured how impactful a relatively simple day-long project was—for both the homeowner and the volunteers.”

As a service coordinator, how do you motivate people to volunteer, not just with Rebuild Upstate, but in general?

“I actually don’t feel like my job is to motivate people to volunteer. My job is to call them to think. I want people to think about themselves in light of the gifts they have been given in this life—and to see others as equally valuable.

I’m a church employee, and so of course base a lot of what I’m saying here on the Gospel: ‘You’ve gotten where you are by grace and love, now how can you help someone take the next step in their journey by extending grace and love to them?’

It’s less about telling someone they should go volunteer and more about challenging them to rethink how they see people and needs around them.”