Jr. High -

Would you take vacation time for this? —

By Becca Haines

Volunteers, by definition, do not get paid for their time. But what often goes un-remarked is that many of them take weeks of vacation hours to serve their church youth groups at CIY’s summer events MOVE and MIX.

One such volunteer is Connor Schaller, a pharmaceutical consultant from Muncie, Indiana, who took a week in June to help middle schoolers at MIX and plans to do it again in July for high schoolers at MOVE. He first connected with New Community Christian Church in Salina, Kansas through a small group with the student pastor, Derek Birney.

“Connor does a great job building relationships with the middle schoolers,” Birney said. “When they see him or talk with him, they’re excited. They share a lot with him because he has shown them that he cares.”

The big question is: why?

“When I was about these students’ age, I went on a mission trip for a week in downtown St. Louis,” Schaller said. “We served people and did all kinds of service projects, but it was there where I experienced community with my fellow Christians. We were away from all the distractions and pressures. We were just there to focus on our faith and others. It was at events like (MIX) that changed my life.”

A volunteer’s dedication can look different at any given moment – from a heated game of dodgeball to sitting quietly with a student to listen to their story – and Schaller said he knows God will use every single one of those moments to guide a student’s life.

“It’s been fun to help and to share my faith with the students,” he said. “This whole journey has taught me that I can have fun doing God’s work, and it’s especially fun at MIX. The small group discussions are great – the questions keep the kids engaged – and that’s when a lot of great moments happen for us.”

If you have fantastic adult volunteers in your ministry, check out these 10 ways to serve servants this summer. For more information about MIX, click here.