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Learning from Volunteer Training Event

Connecting Streams held a Volunteer Training Event on March 16th in Sherwood Park:  ‘Reaching the Least of These’.  The key speaker for the event was Rob C. Thiessen.  Rob is the managing Director for Hope for Freedom Society, a not-for-profit faith based Christian organization that reaches out to the addicted and homeless.

Rob Thiessen

Over 65 people gathered to learn from Rob Thiessen.   The training was timely and relevant for volunteers in their respective venues.  Rob’s emphasized dependence upon the Holy Spirit, prayer, listening well and looking for the “footprints of God” in people’s lives and the necessity of understanding ministry team dynamics and need for synergy.  He shared his heart and passion with humility, humor and the need for personal surrender and transformation in order to reach out effectively.

Right from the beginning Rob spoke of how the Lord was changing him.  He spoke from the heart as he shared things he needed to learn in order to reach out effectively to the broken, hurting and marginalized.

Loved how Rob said that the gospel is love, not some “formula”.  The results aren’t up to us, that’s God’s job.  Our responsibility is to show up and love & listen.   How it takes months to build trust.  How important it is to listen, and not be quick to speak or give advice, just listening is a form of respect. 

I guess he just confirmed what I already knew, but it is very  encouraging to be reminded from somebody who is in the trenches.   When I am reminded, it seems to “simplify” it for me, and make me think again: ”I can do this”  I loved his story about how people coming to work in the program have come to faith in Christ, not just the “clients”.    How God’s plan is so much bigger and  more encompassing than ours, and how He blesses above and beyond. 

– Quote from Deanna, participant of the training event.

Below are notes from Rob’s session for review.

Key Points

  1. Where does our help come from as believers?  Only the Holy Spirit.  He is our only power source.  Practice His presence – remain in unceasing attitude of prayer
  2. Learn how to listen.  It takes time to build rapport and trust.  If you listen well you will discover keys to help
  3. Be patient.  We have to trust God.  He is never late.  His will is not bound by time.  We are not responsible for the results – they are up to God.  Be faithful.
  4. Love.  You need love from God.  All of our actions are transparent – be genuine.  Remember, Jesus died for us before we loved Him.  We need supernatural love.  He is our resource and strength.  I had to love unconditionally.  I needed to learn to be a caregiver and not a caretaker – to love without expectation.
  5. Prayer – we need to be in a constant attitude of prayer.  We need God to reveal things to learn about what is going on in order to introduce people to Jesus.  We can collect data.  Look for the footprints of God in someone’s life.  I prayed for sensitivity to the Spirit.  God, what is going on?  In order to be agents of peace and calm and help people understand redemption.  God is not the accuser.


Be an effective team player:

There is an intersection between Community/Cause/Corporation.  Effective organizations have all three that intersect.  Causes conflicts of values, lines of authority and responsibility.



  • Family values, love, acceptance and security.  Safe, level playing field, feelings.
  • Most important – weakest – where the resources are directed



  • Ceaseless, we want to win – take the hill, want victory over the enemy
  • Task to accomplish, concerned for objective
  • Hierarchy in relationships has to be respected
  • Most important – most committed, through thick and thin
  • Have to be strategic, consistent in practice and speech
  • To enter – drafted or enlisted



  • Has to be sustainable and viable
  • Measurables and goals
  • Evaluate for effectiveness and efficiency
  • Runs on $ – looking for productivity


Effective teams:

  • Accountable to each other
  • Watch each other’s back
  • Worse thing – undermine each other
  • Confidentiality – decisions backed
  • Back each other when we make mistakes
  • Don’t throw each other under the bus (happens a lot on teams)
  • Pray, love



  • Look for the footprints of Jesus
  • We need supernatural insights
  • Be inclusive and safe
  • Pray, ask Questions
  • Switch the focus to Jesus and relationship
  • Blind man – didn’t know much about Jesus but this he knew – he was blind but now he could see! – Brief and yet profound encounter
  • Romans – everyone has enough information – what footprints of the Lord do you see?  Unpack and use
  • Remember – the gospel is power – it is good news and it is powerful
  • Introduce to Jesus
  • Be faithful
  • When people see your care, love and consistency – see Jesus


Qualities in a volunteer:

  • Leadership qualities – faithfulness, willingness
  • Willing to take on responsibilities that make them nervous or are hard
  • Relate well with others – can diffuse tension in relationships and situations (bring down the octane)


In Scripture, Jesus equates how we treat the broken and marginalized in our world with how we treat Him.  Allow God to challenge and inspire you how to compassionately, lovingly, and effectively reach out to the broken and marginalized in your community.  Allow him to sanctify your heart and to empower you for effective influence.

Learn more about Ministry Opportunities with Connecting Streams.

2019-04-15T15:48:28+00:00March 19th, 2013|Our Blog, Resources|0 Comments

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