Of the 40-odd volunteer positions at GraceWorks, a small group of 33 people find the most difficult position the most gratifying as well — the position of GraceWorker.
GraceWorkers meet with our neighbors in their greatest hour of need. GraceWorks hear their stories, most of which are complicated, emotional, even heartbreaking. GraceWorkers listen to them without judgement, often holding a hand, hugging them tightly and offering a prayer.
After hearing these stories, GraceWorkers work with staff to determine what resources we can offer to best meet the neighbor’s needs – whether it’s rent or utility bill assistance to keep their homes, food for their empty pantries, clothing for work or school, gasoline to get to a job and a myriad other services GraceWorks offers to struggling families.
Three years ago, while volunteering for The Manger, GraceWorks’ annual Christmas gift program, Chris Auten was asked by Neighbor Services Director Rae Sanchez to be a GraceWorker.
“I wasn’t even sure what a GraceWorker does,” Auten said.
Since then, for three years, he has been working a three-hour GraceWorker shift each week.
“Some stories are really heart-wrenching,” he said. “At times, you really wish GraceWorks had more resources we could offer. You truly believe it’s the right thing for that person or family, and if there were more you could do, you could get them standing upright so they could walk and eventually run again.”
But most days he goes home realizing he gave blessings to families in hard circumstances who expected little, he solved multiple problems where there seemed no answers, and he gave hope where there was none.
Fellow GraceWorker John Harbor said he has seen the grace bestowed on people who need help turned back on himself.
“I have never spent a day here that I didn’t receive a blessing,” he said.
We need many more GraceWorkers to help us serve in 2019! Please prayerfully consider coming to a GraceWorkers Orientation to learn more. Our next orientation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at Heritage Church of Christ, 1056 Lewisburg Pike, Franklin. More information is available by emailing Erin Saurers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will learn a lot about the role of a GraceWorker at this orientation, and if you choose to join the GraceWorker family, you will have some comprehensive training which involves working three-hour shifts once a week in various areas of GraceWorks to learn about the organization itself, and then shadowing a GraceWorker once a week for six weeks to learn the process.
If you have ever had the calling to serve in a deeper way, we ask you to consider the role of a GraceWorker. It is a beautiful opportunity to serve and walk with Christ as he loves His people.