Volunteering As A Way Of Belonging

Ever hear of the 80/20 rule? I used to be a member of a Southern Baptist church, and this rule definitely applied there. 80% of the work is done by the same 20% of the people. So, when a new project or something would come up, and volunteers were asked for, a few minutes of strained silence would ensue before the same people would inevitably volunteer; which, of course can lead to burnout and disillusionment.

It’s no different with any other organization, whether it be a 12-step meeting or a community choir. Someone has to volunteer. Someone has to step up, take a risk, do something outside of his/her comfort zone (difficult for codependents because they tend to counter-balance, thinking they shouldn’t volunteer for anything, to take care of themselves).

This happened to me recently in my Choralaires group. One of the tenors, a gentleman, had been making the coffee for our break for . . . I think at least a year. It involves bringing the coffee supplies home with you every week, including the large coffee pot thingy.

The first week I was there he wanted to pass this mantle of responsibility and everyone was very quiet. I thought about it but didn’t say anything. Then at break I mentioned I might try and the next week it became my responsibility. I don’t know how long I will do it, but it gives me a stronger feeling of belonging, like I’m doing something to contribute.

Lots of people – often the newbies – make coffee at AA and Al-Anon meetings. It’s easy enough and gives one a reason to show up and help out. At least you know you have to be there because without you there’s gonna be coffee-less angry people. 😉 Not a pleasant thought.

Other people help put the chairs back the way they were before, or throw away paper cups, or meet and greet people at the doors. The possibilities are endless.

What will YOU do this week as a way to push out of your comfort zone?

2 Comments

  1. Wonderful Blog, Chris, I love how clear and gentle your message is. I am taking on the GSR position in my newly formed home group (we had a resentment and a coffee pot so now we have a new group!) I am looking forward to the regularity of group service. Thank you for your share. Wishing you well, Sherrie

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    1. That sounds like a great new home group . . . resentment-free! I’m glad my message came across as gentle. I so didn’t want it to seem preachy. I always try to remember my mom’s wise advice: something about bees and honey vs. vinegar? 😉
      I wish you well, too, Sherrie!

      Like

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