How Volunteering Can Help You Discover Your Mission

3 Things You Learn about Yourself When You Volunteer

Experience is one of life’s best teachers. As you seek to discover your mission in life, you can read about different opportunities, you can listen to other’s stories, but nothing beats firsthand experience.

Courtesy of Partners in Hope Lake Travis


Since a teenager, I have volunteered locally by serving food at a soup kitchen, stocking shelves at a food pantry, helping elderly widows, working on house repairs for less fortunate, helping build a church in Louisiana, and spending time with kids that lived at a children’s shelter.

Short term mission trips also gave me many opportunities to volunteer. I have helped conduct Vacation Bible Schools and build a church in Mexico, help build a school in Guatemala, handed out Bibles to Chinese Tourists in Thailand and Macau, dug a well in Honduras, hung out with more kids in a children shelter in Thailand, visited men, women and children in prisons in Thailand, prayer walked in Chinese villages, and spent time encouraging missionaries on the field.

When you volunteer for different things, especially things that out of your comfort zone, you begin to learn things about yourself that will help you discover your mission in life. Here are a few things that you will help you as you volunteer:

  • You will find out what spiritual gifts God has given you. God has given each of us gifts to help us do the work He calls us to do. If you aren’t a believer, I think that gift is dormant within you, waiting to come alive!

You might have the gift of mercy giving you a heart for the vulnerable. Or maybe your gift is teaching, and you discover this as you teach women in Thailand caught in the sex industry. Or your gift might be generosity, and you as you create wealth you enjoy funding mission activities around the world.

  • When you experience something that matches your gifting, a passion awakens within you. When this happens, you begin dreaming about how you can reorganize your life around this newfound passion. If it truly is a purpose for you to pursue, it will outlast the emotional high.
  • You learn what you aren’t cut out to do. This may sound like a negative at first, but really it’s a great thing. We know we can’t do everything, so identifying what’s not for us to pursue, we can focus on discovering what is our mission.

Volunteering just once or twice for one or two opportunities probably won’t accomplish much of what I am talking about. If you want to discover your mission in life, I recommend a first step of making volunteerism a priority. Integrate time on at the very least annually to volunteer. I think monthly is better. And, as you probably can guess, I recommend volunteering for different things. Again, not for the sake of volunteering, but so you can discover your mission.

Once you discover your mission in life, it won’t be a matter of finding time to volunteer. I promise, you will adjust your whole way of living around that mission.

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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