Study Guides for Service

The Dalai Lama once said, “The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.”

 

Inspiring Engagement in Community Service:
A Study and Contemplation Guide

Restoring the Soul has created these guides for Christian, Jewish and Buddhist faith communities, with the guidance of and suggestions from faith leaders and outreach coordinators. The various sources from which material has been adapted are credited. The guides vary from faith to faith depending on the sources available. They are intended to assist different congregations in inspiring their congregants to engagement in community service. They may be used as the guide for a study group and also for the support of volunteers already working in the community serving the needs of others.

The decision to write these guides came after our organization had been in existence for several years and was inspired by a number of issues and challenges which surfaced in our efforts to foster and support collaborations between service agencies and faith communities. Communities who are in the first stages of volunteer programs are generally attracted to group opportunities, allowing members of the congregation to spend time with each other in a social/work environment. These kinds of situations strengthen the internal community while serving the external community at large. Since a good percentage of Boulder County human service agencies’ volunteer needs also involve one on one work, i.e. mentoring, tutoring and compassion visits, Restoring the Soul offers these guides as a means of developing the internal congregation while simultaneously supporting various forms of volunteering. In addition, a community which is contemplating moving into active participation in the extended community could use them for initial inspiration.

Restoring the Soul offers training in the use of these guides to create internal bonding in your faith community, while simultaneously encouraging more volunteerism. This is achieved by exploring the core text sources in your faith which inspire engagement and support challenging field experiences.

Please feel free to adapt the material to your particular view and need. The sources used to develop the curricula were those, in each faith, which related very specifically to service. These texts are works in progress and your comments, suggestions and additions would be gratefully received.

To begin with, the Guides are divided into sections, each one of which is appropriate for one study session. The pace of study may range from a meeting once per week to once per month, depending on the interests of the group. In addition, at the end of the guide, there is a proposed plan for an initial volunteer project.