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This page is for registered MDS congregational contact persons. If you are not a registered contact person and your church does not already have an MDS contact, we invite you to scroll to the bottom of this page and register now.
We are glad you decided to join this ministry of hope. Mennonite Disaster Service is ready to provide grass roots volunteers in your congregation with service opportunities across North America.
As the contact person for your congregation, you serve in a very important role for MDS - you water the grass roots of MDS with information and encouragement. MDS depends on you to let others know how they can help disaster survivors through MDS.
Do not be afraid to speak up and let others know about the good news of MDS.
This page is designed to provide you with tips and ideas for keeping others excited about MDS. Once you have registered as the contact person for your congregation, we will keep you informed so you can keep MDS alive for others.
Thank you for volunteering for MDS in this way!
As an MDS congregational contact person, you automatically receive the following information updates to help you keep others informed about MDS:
Biweekly E-mail or fax updates
post these in your church and draw the attention of others to their information about volunteer opportunities
Behind the Hammer - Quarterly MDS newsletter
Use these stories when speaking to encourage others
Access to tele-updates at 1 (800) 241-8111
Share this number with volunteers who cannot receive fax or E-mail
You will know you are doing a good job as a CCP when people from your church begin going on assignments with MDS. Here are some ideas of ways that you can encourage others to serve:
Lead by example!
Go on MDS assignments yourself. Ask others to go with you. Involvement leads to enthusiasm and more response. You and others who go will have fresh stories to tell of meaningful service.
Make sure women get involved in MDS
Women are able to do most MDS jobs. Long-term projects also need women or husband/wife teams for hosting, cooking, leading youth teams, office work and more. If you know any female carpenters, tell them about MDS!
Involve multiple generations
MDS needs the vigor and strength of our youth. Our youth need the practical service experience of MDS. Older people should not be overlooked in your recruiting efforts. Older people often bring skill and experience and have free time for meaningful involvement. Know the people and resources available in your congregation.
Get your pastor, minister or bishop involved
If your church leaders spend even one day on an MDS project, you can guarantee they will come home with sermon material. Their stories from the pulpit of their experiences will assist you in challenging others.
Is MDS in your church budget?
You can make a big difference in the life of MDS by asking your church council to consider placing MDS in the budget. Remember to educate others that MDS is no longer a part of MCC and that all of our fund raising efforts are separate.
Your church can sponsor volunteers
When people from your church decide to serve with MDS, you can involve those who are unable to go by inviting them to help sponsor and “send off” the volunteers. Some churches hold a commissioning service where an offering is collected to cover the costs of transportation and missed work. Some churches even send money directly to the MDS project to cover the overhead costs of food and lodging. When the volunteers return, you can invite them to give a report and share photos and stories with the congregation.
You don't have to travel far to serve with MDS
Let local agencies know that you are available for special project requests. If your local Red Cross knows that you have access to volunteers, they will likely call you to assist low-income families who have faced home fires, flood, etc.
Want to do more?
A picture is worth 1,000 words
Thank volunteers publicly by posting their pictures on your church bulletin board beside the MDS news updates.
Plan an MDS Sunday
As your congregation becomes more involved in MDS activity, you can help them to plan an MDS Sunday. Encourage volunteers to submit their stories and share their experiences on a Sunday morning. Set up a picture display in the foyer and distribute MDS brochures. Resources are available to assist you in planning this event.
Investigate local disaster
Check out disasters in your area. Notify appropriate unit officers as soon as possible. Indicate the size of the disaster and whether you need help to respond.
What if there are no disasters close by?
Expand your definition of a disaster. There are always people in need in every church and community. Ask you pastor or deacons if someone needs help and organize a Saturday work project. Service experience is the best motivator.
Let other local agencies know that you are available for special project requests. If your local Red Cross knows that you have access to volunteers, they will likely call you to assist low-income families who have faced home fires, flood, etc.
Stay in touch with the MDS family
Attend Unit, Regional, and All Unit meetings. More information about these meetings is available from the MDS offices in Lititz and Winnipeg.
MDS volunteers are known for repairing and rebuilding homes damaged by disasters. But it takes more than construction skills to serve with MDS. During the time that you serve as a volunteer, you will learn that MDS also restores lives.
Your contribution will help to connect volunteers with disaster survivors who need assistance on their path to recovery. MDS depends on the support of people who believe that disaster response is an important part of helping those who are in need.
Sign up for free biweekly project updates and other MDS news.