Did You Know

Tree Rings

As a volunteer or leader with Kin Ministry, you attended the volunteer training provided through our education partner, BeFriender Ministry. As a refresher from your training, we will begin to review what we learned. Last time we reviewed the 4 Guiding Principles. Today we will be reminded of our tree rings.


Did You Know – Tree Rings

You, as a Kin Ministry volunteer, are called to support and nurture those you connect with on behalf of your faith community.  Through your understanding and listening presence, you are a living reminder of God’s love.  When we serve as that reminder, let us be mindful of the people, life events and experiences that shape our lives and how we listen.


Refer to the reflection questions you received prior to volunteer training.

1. Significant people in my life – people who have influenced me:
2. Significant Life Events (include challenges and joys)
3. What experiences have you had with isolated individuals?

• How might your past experiences with isolated individuals impact your future relationships with isolated individuals?

These people, life events and experiences stay with us and create the tree rings of our lives. Do you remember what our training taught us about tree rings? Let’s take a look.



Used with Permission. © BeFriender Ministry-A Listening Presence. Bloomington, MN

Tree Rings

Rings – When we look at the whole, the tree ring and our life, we can see the patterns and directions beginning to emerge and come clear. Everyone has a unique pattern, as the experiences in their lives are unique to them.

Knots – The knots show a time of growth through difficulty. We, too, have knots in our lives.

Bark – The bark serves to protect the tree. Without the bark, the tree would die. Yet, the bark is porous enough to allow the tree to grow. The bark is like our defenses. They cannot and should not be stripped away, yet, they must be open to allow for growth.

God is There

God walked with you when you created your tree rings, he held you up as you healed your knots, and he sees through your defensive bark. God calls you to serve based on what he knows of your heart, mind and soul. God promises to be present and to support each person in their ministry just as he does with you.

Used with Permission. © BeFriender Ministry-A Listening Presence. Bloomington, MN

Recognizing Your Volunteers

Did you know that National Volunteer Week is April 7-13?
Did you know that President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week with an executive order in 1974, as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. As Kin Ministry leaders, you can use this week to shine a light on the volunteers that keep your ministry running.

Today we share some ways your can recognize your volunteers, but first take a minute to learn:
1. Why Recognize Volunteers?

2. Best Practices for Recognizing Your Volunteers

Recognizing Your Volunteers


Hold a special thank-you brunch after your Sunday church service.  This is also a great time to recognize a particularly great volunteer.

VIP Parking:

Reserve 2 or 3 parking spots, close to the church building, for Kin Ministry volunteers. Don’t forget the “Reserved for Kin Ministry Volunteers” parking sign.


Send an article to your local newspaper highlighting the contributions of your volunteers and the impact they have made on the community.

Volunteer Highlight:

Share a short story about or an interview with your volunteer in your church newsletter or on a bulletin board within your church. Don’t forget to include pictures.

Shout-out on Social Media:

If your church uses social media, take advantage of this platform to send a shout out to a specific volunteer for their service and commitment to your ministry.


Have t-shirts, pins, mugs or tote bags made that recognize the individual as a member of your Kin Ministry volunteer team.

More Ways to Celebrate Volunteers:

Taking Care of Yourself

Did You Know – Taking Care of Yourself

I was recently reading a White Paper from Vanderbloemen Search Group that talked about their research around avoiding burnout in ministry.  What struck me about the paper was the need for leaders to make sure they are caring for themselves.  I know each of you and I know how you devote completely to your churches and the people in them.  So when I read the article I had an ah-ha moment and started to worry about each of you and your risk for burnout.  So this DYKS is about you taking care of you as shared in the white paper 10 Ways to Prevent Burnout in Ministry.
In this very busy time of the church calendar, will you take the time to care for yourself?

Take Care of Yourself

A church is only as healthy as its leaders

1. Take care of your soul

Jesus taught us that the Christian life is “inside out.” Proverbs 4 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Nothing is more important than guarding the attitude of your heart. Set aside time for personal Bible study, fellowship with family and close friends, and use the Sabbath to refuel and center yourself and your walk with the Lord.

2. Take Care of Your Body

Getting the body well contributes to the well being of your soul as well. One study found that when a group of people suffering from mild to moderate depression exercised for at least 20 minutes 3 times a week, they were significantly less depressed 5 weeks later. The benefits were immediate and were maintained as long as they kept on exercising. Make healthy living – eating, exercising, and sleeping – a priority.

3. Take Care of Your Mind

Learning inspires growth and innovation. Read a new book on your area of ministry, take a Bible class, and attend leadership conferences. It’s difficult to feel stagnant or burnt out in your ministry when you’re being challenged to try new things.

Taking time away to refocus and be refreshed is not optional – it is vital for your health and longevity in ministry. Perhaps you’re suffering from burnout because this has not been a priority for you in the past. If you’re new to the discipline of rest, try this: rest 1 day every week, 1 weekend every month, 1 week every year, 1 month every 5 years. Whether or not this guideline works for you, establishing regular, scheduled rest is a must. Is it time for you to take a sabbatical? Do you set aside the Sabbath to truly rest? If you preach on Sundays, are you using Mondays to recuperate?

10 Ways to Prevent Burnout in Ministry

by: William Vanderbloemen
Vanderbloemen Research Group

4 Guiding Principles

A Kin Ministry volunteer is someone who listens with compassion, accepts people as they are, respects another’s spiritual journey and embodies the caring presence of God.
The BeFriender Ministry Guiding Principles are the ground rules on which you build your relationships with your Kin. Over the next several months we will review each of these principles and how they play an important part within your connections.

Did You Know – 4 Guiding Principles

1. God is present

Volunteers are aware that they are in God’s presence when connecting with someone and that the time shared is a blessing to both the Kin volunteer and the Kin.

2. Caring not curing

Volunteers accept people as they are without telling them how they should be, listen with compassion without giving advice, and allow others to make their own decisions without trying to decide for them. The care offered by volunteers provides an opportunity for those they connect with to make choices and grow.

3. Nonjudgmental presence

Volunteers provide a sacred and safe space for someone to talk about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings without being judged or criticized.

4. Active listening

The value and healing potential of having one’s story heard is profound. Volunteers actively listen by using communication skills that create an environment of respect and dignity.


A Kin Ministry volunteer is a companion on the journey through life transitions.  Through listening, nonjudgemental presence and compassion, volunteers bring with them the caring presence of God and the community. Honoring the 4 Guiding Principles that you learned in training supports and strengthens the Kin Ministry relationship.

Used with Permission. © BeFriender Ministry-A Listening Presence. Bloomington, MN

Working with Volunteers

Did You Know – Working with Volunteers

You couldn’t do what you are doing without them, but sometimes working with volunteers can be challenging. Volunteers are individuals with their own attitudes and behaviors sometimes creating situations that can be challenging.  Even the well-intentioned volunteer can create situations that become a problem.  So how do you work with a challenging or difficult volunteer behavior, attitude or situation?

Working with Challenging and Difficult Volunteers

1. Identify and understand the most difficult volunteer types

The Non-Profit Times outlines the most difficult volunteer types according to John L. Lipp in his book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recruiting & Managing Volunteers”

2. Be aware of the Myths

Sue Vineyard shares in “New Competencies for Volunteer Administrators,” 8 Myths About Difficult Volunteers.

3. Learn healthy ways to handle a difficult volunteer

Read through and practice the techniques suggested by Carey Nieuwhof’s in 5 Healthy Ways to Handle a Difficult Volunteer. She also shares some scenarios you may find helpful.

A New Look To Get Excited About

Did You Know – The New Kin Ministry Website

You spoke and we listened. We are pretty proud and excited about the launch of our new Kin Ministry website. The new site defines the why and how of the Kin Ministry solution so you can easily share with others. Use the website to take your family, friends and others to statistics on loneliness or demonstrate how you confidentially communicate with your Kin Ministry leader. Curious about upcoming training opportunities or just want to learn more, we now have quick link tabs right on the Kin Ministry home-screen.


Our vision is to be the leader in ending isolation and loneliness by connecting communities, empowering individuals and delivering exceptional education and support. We do this through our three building blocks that comprise Kin Ministry.


Training to ignite connections within your congregation or community

Learn about upcoming training opportunities:

  • Events Tab links you to all the training opportunities, offered by Kin Ministry, to you, your congregation and your community.


Online platform to help you manage your growing caring community

Through the platform you can:

Get Notified
Record Confidentially
Personalized for Each Kin
Mark as Urgent


On-going support and training to help you engage others and grow.

Our support tab allows you to:

Contact Us
• View Kin Ministry printable resources
• Review previous Did You Know Series posts
• Link to weekly devotions and activity pages

Sticking Together in the Brokenness

Sticking Together in the Brokenness

“And yet, we all have this lovely embedded idea of putting on our Sunday best, which is entirely antithetical to the honesty of the brokenness that we all experience in our lives…. we are embedded so deeply with the goal to present our best self whatever that looks like. So it is hard, it is hard for me and for many people to share the brokenness of their lives, because we haven’t all done that very well, we haven’t trained ourselves to hear one another in our brokenness and to have the trust in one another to share and to have someone who will just stick with you in that brokenness.  We (BeFrienders) want to be about building the trust, to say yes we will stick with you.”

Christy Hallenbeck-Ask, Pastor at Spirit of Joy on BeFriender Ministry

Listening to Pastor Christy’s interview on SD Public Radio, we are reminded of the power in the training we received through BeFriender Ministry. We are reminded why our role as Kin Ministry volunteers and leaders is so important in the lives of others. Take some time to listen to Christy’s entire interview and reflect on the positive impact you have made on your Kin and your Kin on you. Be reminded why you signed up to be a Kin Ministry volunteer and what your training calls you to do.

Sharing Kin Ministry

Sharing Kin Ministry

People will support and volunteer for your Kin Ministry program for many reasons, but did you know it is their perception of your program that will attract them originally?  Don’t make the mistake of assuming your church and potential volunteers know what Kin Ministry is and how it serves those in your church.  It is important that people not only know you exist, but also that they associate value with your program.  We have created 5 easy ways for you to start sharing Kin Ministry.

1. Share the Kin Ministry video

2. Hang Kin Ministry posters around your church. We will print and mail you up to 6 or you can print them yourself.

3. Hand out information with the Kin Ministry bulletin insert. We will print and mail you up to 200 or you can print them yourself.

4. Use your website with a Kin Ministry Facts and Questions Page (FAQ). We have provided a template to get your started.

5. Recognize your volunteers.

Benefits of Volunteering

$24.69!  That is what a volunteer hour is said to be worth in 2018, but it is worth so much more than that and you may be surprised by who is benefiting from those volunteer hours. Volunteering makes an immeasurable difference in the lives of others. But did you know that volunteering actually benefits you too? From improving your health to providing an additional sense of purpose, volunteering offers many benefits to the volunteer. Below is just a sampling of the ways it benefits you.

The Benefits of Volunteering

Your Health:

According to a  Mayo Clinic report, volunteers indicate better physical health than do non-volunteers. Those over age 60 showed benefits to both their physical and mental health.

Build Your Resume:

Volunteering demonstrates an openness to teamwork, exhibits your commitment to the community as well as a willingness to help others.

Connects You:

Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.

Gain Confidence:

Volunteering can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem as well as your life satisfaction.  You feel a natural sense of accomplishment when you are doing good for others.

Live Longer:

Long-term volunteers have longer lives, less disease, and better overall health.  Data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging found that volunteers live longer than non-volunteers.

Graceful Aging:

Older people who volunteer often feel younger and may have fewer negative health symptoms and pain. Possibly because being active and engaged leads to more happiness.

Some of the other benefits of volunteering include:

  • Feeling needed
  • Setting an example for your children
  • Doing something outside of oneself
  • Making you happy
  • Providing an additional sense of purpose

Health Risks of Loneliness

There’s no easy way to say this.

Loneliness is serious. In fact, it’s so serious that it can lead to an early death.

Extensive research is uncovering more and more health risks.

It’s already well known that smoking, obesity and environmental factors can cause an early demise. Loneliness, however, is a relative newcomer to the field of potentially fatal conditions.

Health Risks of Loneliness


Loneliness a silent killer: Often high blood pressure or diabetes are referred to as “silent killers.” Loneliness and social isolation would also fit into that category.

In fact, high blood pressure was found by a University of Chicago study to be a major byproduct of loneliness and social isolation.


Living alone increases the risk of suicide: Isolation brings about stress, anxiety and depression. In some cases, even alcoholism. All of those are triggers for suicide.


Lonely individuals report higher levels of stress: Even when they’re relaxing, lonely people say they feel the pressure of the world on them.


The social interaction that lonely people do have isn’t as positive as those of other people: The quality of the relationships that they do have don’t provide relief from the stress of being lonely and isolated.


Loneliness raises levels of stress hormones: This causes an imbalance in the circulatory system so that the heart has to work harder.


Loneliness hinders quality of sleep: Isolated individuals wake up more often during the night and spend more time in bed not sleeping.


While loneliness isn’t a chronic illness that will directly cause death, a lack of social connections can lead to serious health risks that result in death.