THE BACKPAGE: WHO SAID VOLUNTEERISM IS DEAD?

Not I, that’s for sure. I read with interest the item on the US Peace Corps at Northwestern University’s website:

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=65843

Check it out… Stats say the first decade of the 21st century is on track for having the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers since the decade following JFK’s original speech to the University of Michigan, launching the whole idea. Applications struggled in the ’70s and ’80s, but are now roaring in like a new tide of interest in all things cross- cultural.

What have we, churches and mission agencies of our modern day, to say about the fact that Peace Corps applications can, in many cases, leave our own programs in the dust? No longer can we hide behind accusations that “today’s generation cares little for others,” or “the current crop of young people are concerned only with video games.” If our numbers aren’t rising in step with the Peace Corps, perhaps it’s time we take an honest look at what we’re saying… How we’re recruiting. I remember hearing that, at one point, the Peace Corps was struggling for new prospects. They tried exotic recruiting techniques, … “Come see the world,” etc. No dice. In desperation, they began just telling it like it is. “This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.” Call it “reality- shock recruiting.” Phone networks jammed. Some 30,000 recruits per *month* began filling out applications.

Maybe today’s new generation isn’t as “me-oriented” as some would have us believe. Maybe they’ve paid attention to images of “9/11”, Hurricane Katrina, and the war in Iraq. Maybe they’re ready to answer the call after all. Added to this, maybe their future employers are giving preference to potential hires that have cross-cultural experience.

Could this next decade become the biggest decade for mission recruits since the 1960s? How will *your* church or mission help make that happen?

Comments about this “BackPage” editorial? Just go to:

then click on “Comment” under the item. Mark it up. Talk it through. Give your two cents. Either way, let’s make it happen.

Doug

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.