Volunteering with the Network

I have said in the past that we take very seriously the evaluations that we receive from each year’s Extravaganza. We have a thorough process of going through the pages and pages and pages of data we collect after each year’s event. And then,m as we go through the planning process, we refer back to the evals frequently, as we make decisions about specific points of planning for the event.

Occasionally, comments are made in the evaluations that also speak to the Network in general.

I have been thinking a lot about a comment that was made in the 2011 evaluations that I think deserves some form of resopnse, because I think it was a very important comment.

Someone wrote in their evaluation that “I asked someone who was working about how I could volunteer with the Network or the Extravaganza. I was told ‘that you have to know the right people.’ That seems sad to me. I’d like to use my gifts.”

In ministry, we all do events. And we all evaluate. We know not to over-react to a single comment. But we also know that occasionally comments are made that point to a perception or a reality that we need to deal with. (Ultimately, all perception is forged in some form of reality, so we need to deal with both the same.)

Often in community, there feels like there is an “in” group and an “out” group. This is true in congregational life, as well as in the church at all of its levels. Certainly it is true in the Network as well.


  1. Just so people understand “how” the Network works. We rely on volunteers, just like every other organization. The most visible group of volunteers is the Extravaganza team, because of the nature of their work. But that’s approximately 12 people. Beyond the E-Team, there are “E-Volunteers.” These folks are invaluable, and help pull off the event. They aren’t a part of the year-round planning, but rather work at the event as hosts, with set up, with running supplies, with making airport runs, with running video cameras…the list goes on and on.We work pretty hard at rotating people on the E-Team on and off of the team, and every year we add a couple of new folks to the team. Some of the roles are more long-term, like the tech crew (we lovingly refer to them as the ‘Dog Pound’ because their work is so specialized, and so skill oriented, that they can’t really just be replaced by a different volunteer. (Not many volunteers can come to the table with $15,000 worth of video editing and production equipment.) But every year we do move people on and off the team, and we really try to match up our needs with people’s gifts.
  2. If there is a perception that you need to ‘know the right person’ to volunteer in any aspect of the Network, please let me first apologize for that perception and secondly let you know that this is not the case. We are always looking for volunteers. We have over 120 volunteers working in different aspects of the Network. From regional team members, to Board members, to Vision team members, to newsletter editors, to folks working on the Practice Discipleship Project, etc, etc, etc… Look through our web site and see the programs and resources, and realize that there are volunteers behind every one of them.If you are interested in volunteering in the Network, we are interested in you. We’d love to have a conversation about what that service might look like. Sometimes we may need to wait a little while to make the connection because of issues with timing or resources, but please know that we do need/want/covet your service. And just like the Network, all are welcome.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Network, please contact me at todd@elcaymnet.org, or call my cell phone at 612.597.6565. Let’s talk.

This organization ‘works’ because there are so many different people involved. It is member owned and operated. It is fueled with the Holy Spirit. And it is your passion that moves it forward.

Blessings on your ministry with young people!

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