Each month, we’ll follow Ward member, Cindy Ziemba, on her adventures around the volunteer globe. Did you know there are over 100 unique roles filled by volunteers each month? Cindy will share the good, the surprising, the challenging…the authentic experience behind a wide range of volunteer roles at Ward Church, all serving to connect people to God!
Many powerful ministries have grown from suffering. As Pastor Scott recently shared in his sermon (4/28), followers of Christ were those who changed society attitudes and began orphanages, hospitals, relief assistance, and encouraged education for all.
That kind of compassion was also the seed for Ward’s shuttle ministry. For years, members with mobility issues struggled to make it into our large church building, and once inside, were discouraged to traverse it. The shuttle ministry started with a golf cart and the desire to serve a group of people who didn’t want handicaps to keep them from attending worship.
My vague impression of the shuttle service was that it was a bit like an Uber – that those who need a ride could flag the cart down and get a lift to and from their cars. My first “aha” moment watching the shuttle service came a few years ago when one of our younger drivers was asking his rider about their golf game. It was apparent that some connections and conversations were happening under the roof of the cart.
Still, I was not prepared for the very personal attention and sweet relationships which have been built through the shuttle ministry. I spent a Sunday on a cart with driver Dale, and under the direction of Kim, the fourth week leader. Kim functioned as ‘spotter,’ watching for shuttle riders to arrive in the designated lot north of the church. She recognized the cars as they pulled in and called for drivers, who would scurry out the doors to meet riders at their cars.
Kim showed me a chart she regularly updates with rider names, details, and where they need to be shuttled in the church building. This ministry serves faithful, weekly attenders, many who have been members of Ward for many years. She told of some connections that have been built across generations between drivers and riders, and of time some have spent together outside of Ward.
Riding on the cart was fun. As Kim expressed, it was an honor to help in a small way those who have given significant amounts of time and service to Ward over their lifetimes. Dale’s gregarious energy kept conversation lively. Many who rode our cart were those who have been models to me of faithful walks with Christ. Kim says one of the great benefits to volunteering with the shuttle is getting to know the generation ahead of her – that what they lack in physical strength is more than made up for by seeing how they depend on God to guide them through their daily challenges of life as senior adults.
Shuttle drivers and spotters are on duty one Sunday a month, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. or so, but most of the activity is before/ after services, so we had time to attend an 11:00 a.m. service, slipping in just after it started and slipping out just as it ended.
The personal attention continued after service. Drivers seemed to know where to find their riders. The team was committed to waiting and checking to see that every person was cared for before shutting down. “Has anyone seen C?” “I see G. down the hallway. Don’t put the cart away yet.” The team didn’t need to look at a list to remember each shuttle rider, and knew exactly which car (in fact, even which side of the car) to deliver them.
The shuttle driver team is fairly robust, but more spotters are needed, and most ministries need subs from time to time. Interested in shuttle ministry? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions for Cindy about finding your spot on one of the many serve teams? Contact her at email@example.com.