Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers!

When I was a kid, we sang this song in my Christian school that went something like this, "Christ before us, Christ be-hind, Christ on every side, for the rescue of mankind...blah, blah, blah [it was a long time ago]...volunteers! volunteers! VOL-LUN-TEEEEERS!

The point of the song was to volunteer for Christ's army. It was set to a sort of marching tune and they probably sang while marching around church camp, but we sang it in school. I sang it at the very top of my lungs. Fun times.

These days it seems to me that it gets harder and harder to find people who will volunteer. And I understand it, truly I do. There are so many things taking our attention. We have obligations, jobs, kids, church, and any number of our legitimate excuses. Last week, I was recognized by our national president, Margaret Daley for all the hours in recent days (but also for past years) I've put into ACFW. It came at a time when I was really down and struggling with my own self-esteem and whether I was doing any good anywhere. God is always on time, isn't He? All of the notes I got last week, I saved because I know some day I'll feel low again, and I might need a booster shot. 

It also forced me to look back and see all the places I stepped up to volunteer my services and remember how much I enjoyed some of those things. I'm not any more talented or gifted than any number of people, but when I agree to do something not for pay, I just think of it as giving to Jesus, so I do try to do my very best. I pray about it when I'm asked, or if I feel called to volunteer, and if I feel a strong pull or a peace about it, I try to work it into my very busy schedule, even if I wonder why I'm being called to do such a thing. 

A couple of times I felt I had over committed, but somehow God gave me the strength to finish and do a good job. If I volunteer, I pretend I'm getting paid the big bucks and somehow I always feel rewarded--if not now, then on a day I need a boost. I've played this game with myself since I was in elementary school. If no one notices what I've done, I figure this is where my real jewels in my crown add up! So, I don't feel bad if no one notices. :) Jesus has a way of looking when no one else does.
Indiana State ACFW members at the home of Denise Hunter

Because of the many volunteers both at the national level and state level, the American Christian Fiction Writers has grown into an organization with much respect and prestige. I went to my first conference and roomed with Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt and Tammy Alexander in Houston, TX back when it was still called the American Christian Romance Writers, and I've seen many changes since way back then.

And our chapter has really grown, too, since the day when Cara Putman, Sabrina Butcher, Mary Allen and Rachael Phillips were officers. We now have a web site/blog, too. Darren Kehrer has really put in the man hours to make it look great. (Take a look around!) Lisa Mills way back in the day bought our domain URL for us, set up a web site for us, and now we are able to point that to this site. If you put our URL up, you'll come here.  will get you right back here! Our also gets back here. All great changes. Be sure to add one to your signature. We thank both Lisa and Darren for all the time they've put into making us known around the internet world. Thanks!

Pretty soon we will be having officer elections. If you are a member of ACFW and Indiana ACFW (not associates, though,) we would like you to consider running. But if you can't do that, try to think of how you could volunteer your talents and time in both big and small ways. 

Whether it is sending us some ideas for chapter meetings, locations, guest speakers, or to run for an office, or maybe to do the scholarship baskets for our St. Louis conference...or something you think of to make things better, please drop us a line! Darren jumped right in and helped get our blog shaped up, and now we would like to do interviews of the great Indiana ACFW chapter members, too, right here. 

Yes, we will benefit from whatever you wish to do, but think of it as volunteering in Christ's army, too. Marching onward! Email me if you're thinking of something. I'll be praying for you to step up and help us move into 2012. crystal.mrsinewaATgmailDOTcom . Please think about volunteering in the Indiana Chapter today. And if you have a good idea, don't be afraid to leave it in a comment right here!

Crystal Laine Miller


  1. Also note that, for now, we have a spot to list where our authors are signing books. So, if you are going to sign somewhere, shoot me an email and I'll list it under that tab.
    As Crystal mentioned, we also have a tab now for author interiews. For now, feel free to send me an Indiana author you have interviewed and I will post there.

  2. The last tab I have to overhaul is bookstore....more changes coming there soon..