Pathway 2: Donating
The second pathway of vocational stewardship involves donating our skills to organizations other than our regular employer. This includes volunteer service at churches, nonprofit ministries, or private or public agencies that can make good use of our particular vocational knowledge and experiences in their labors here at home or abroad. What’s unique about this pathway is its concern that our volunteer service intentionally capitalizes on the dimensions of our vocational power. It’s about getting bankers to serve as bankers, carpenters to serve as carpenters, and architects to serve as architects. Such an approach is obviously commonsensical—but in most congregations, there is little or no effort to mobilize members for service according to their vocational talents!
Many congregations may have capacity to equip their congregants for vocational stewardship along this pathway in addition to Pathway 1. If the church’s outreach strategy focuses on partnering with local agencies (rather than launching new church-sponsored initiatives) Pathway 2 will be a natural fit.
Dan Blevins, a paper chemist from Atlanta, has a great story of discovering the joy in donating one’s vocational skills. Click here to read about his experience sharing his unique talents with a ministry in the Philippines.
Hope for New York, a Christian nonprofit in New York City, has pioneered a “Pathway 2” initiative called Professionals in Action. Through it, professionals from a variety of marketplace occupations (e.g., human resources, accounting, IT, business) complete a volunteer application and can choose to lend their time and talents pro bono to a local nonprofit on specific projects. Visit their website for details. This is a model other nonprofits and congregations may want to imitate!
Impatience, arrogance, and failure to appreciate unfamiliar work styles or work cultures are the main temptations of Pathway 2.