b'DAYTODAY VITAL VOLUNTEERSJosh WindhamNecessary Discomfort Stretching volunteers comfort zonesA s we head into anotherperceptions, stereotypes, and fall season for rescueassumptions of what they see missions and like- and hear on the news or social minded ministries, I believemedia? What does it mean for that were at a crucial time topeople of faith to understand address the growing barriersthat picking up our cross and between volunteerism and solv- following Christ means we ing the issues of homelessnesswont necessarily experience in our communities. Here in thecomfort and safety while living Twin Cities, as in many otherout the gospel? cities across the United States,To address these questions homelessness is becoming moreand begin to find solutions, we visible than ever. Tent commu- need to understand that simpleto adapt so we can stay relevant nities have sprung up in localanswers to these complex issuesin an ever-changing world.parks, alongside freeways, andwill not solve the problems weAs faith-based organizations, in other public spaces.face. A good starting point is towe should be safe places for This visibility causes fear,look again at what volunteervolunteers and churches to be anxiety, and uncertainty inopportunities we offer. Manychallenged in their theology local residents. Some wouldrescue missions and like- and inspired to live out their genuinely like to help but dontminded organizations offerfaith in tangible ways. Now know where to start. In addi- innovative and creative servicemore than ever, we need Christ-tion, Ive had a handful ofopportunities to meet the grow- followers who are willing to get volunteers who arent comfort- ing needs in our communities.uncomfortable. We need volun-able coming into the city toUsing volunteers for streetteers who are willing to be close volunteer because of the vio- outreach, setting up mobileto people who are different lence and unrest over the pastsatellite locations to bring serv- from them socially, economi- Josh is the volunteer services few months, on top of fearsices and resources to wherecally, and racially. Weremanager at Union Gospel Mission around COVID-19.needs are most prevalent, andcommanded to live out theTwin Cities in Minnesota. He has In a world thats becomingoffering pre- and post-volunteergospel for the whole world, notbeen able to work in a variety of nonprofit settings, in volunteer more divisive, how do we asexperience debriefing sessions,just for people in our own zipmanagement and community homelessness-focused organiza- challenges our volunteerscode, social circles, or spheresdevelopment. He is passionate tions break down these barriers?assumptions and stereotypes.of influence. May we continueabout bringing people in his community to a deeper underAs volunteer management pro- My hope is that we willto grow in these aspects of ourstanding of issues like social fessionals, how do we challengecontinue examining how weministry to meet the ever- justice, homelessness, and and address our volunteersuse volunteers and be willingpresent needs before us. \x04 poverty. You may email Josh at jwindham@ugmtc.org.SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 WWW.CITYGATENETWORK.ORG 57'