Volunteers & Supporting Ministries

Guidelines For Volunteers & Supporting Ministries

Background

The term supporting ministries is loosely used to refer to the following groups:

  • Fly & Builds, Storm Co trips and other service projects by overseas groups or individuals.
  • Training, Ministry or Evangelistic Activities by overseas groups or individuals (eg. Des Ward).
  • Such activities listed in point 1 & 2 conducted by churches and schools groups or other entities from our sister Conference under the Partners in Mission initiative- South Queensland Conference.
  • Activities by Ministries from overseas not officially recognized by the denomination (Cornerstone Ministries, Operation Education Vanuatu)
  • Activities by unofficially recognized expatriates supporting Ministries based in Vanuatu but operated or funded from overseas (Lister Advent Training Institute, Dr Mark & Naomi Turnbull).
  • Activities by recognized supporting ministries (ie those endorsed by SPD and approved by Vanuatu Mission to operate in Vanuatu).  Currently restricted to Volunteers in Action (VIA) & Pacific Yacht Ministries.
  • Visits & Activities by partners or donors in conjunction with Mission approved projects including Henri & Hanni Rusterholz (Church Roofing), Allan Rosendahl & Family (Adopt-a-Clinic)

Typically those involved in such activities are volunteers.  Volunteers may also come as officially appointed workers of the mission under the Adventist Volunteer Service program such as Bible Workers or Student Missionaries.

Brief

It is the responsibility of Vanuatu Mission as the collective and representative body of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Vanuatu to ensure that all projects or activities are conducted in the best interests of the church and in harmony with the policies, guidelines and requirements of the church and country.  Volunteers and supporting ministries are partners in fulfilling this responsible and must work together in cooperation with Vanuatu Mission to ensure that the church is stronger and more unified and that God is glorified through its work.

Guidelines and Procedures

General Secretary or CFO

Church Roofing/Building Projects

Global Mission Director

Partners in Mission & Sister Church Relationships

Ministerial Secretary

Evangelistic & Training Activities

Education Department

School Related Activities

Health Department

Health Related Activities

Youth Department

StormCo and other Youth Ministry activities

Volunteer Services Coordinator

Long Term Volunteers, Student Missionaries etc.

  1. While initial contact may be made with a local church, district or department, approval for any project or activity involving overseas volunteers shall be obtained from Mission Administration prior to confirmation or publication of any plans.
  2. Prior to approval by Mission Administration negotiations and arrangements should be made with the following departments of Vanuatu Mission to ensure harmony with Mission objectives and plans.
  3. Where a project involves a local church or school, approval for the project or activity shall be given by its board or administration prior to the development of detailed plans.
  4. Endorsement by the sending/sponsoring school, church, entity board, or administration shall be received prior to endorsement of the project or activity by Vanuatu Mission Administration.
  5. Vanuatu Mission shall maintain a register of needs and opportunities for sponsorship or service projects which overseas volunteers or donors may be directed to. This register shall be promoted and made available by Mission Administration.  Local churches and schools are strongly discouraged from directly seeking assistance from overseas or establishing private partnerships or other arrangements with individuals or supporting ministries.  Approved PIM or sisterhood relationships are the proper means for developing ongoing and more direct working relationships.  Final approval however for each project or visit shall still be sought from Mission Administration.
  6. Mission Administration shall negotiate and approve partnerships such as sister school relationships with overseas entities through the normal denominational channels.
  7. Where employees from other denominational entities are involved a service request shall be submitted through the usual channels or as part of a submission to SPD Volunteer Services.
  8. A copy of itinerary of groups and individuals shall be provided to Mission Administration prior to embarkation.
  9. A copy of certificate of travel insurance shall be provided to Mission Administration prior to embarkation.  Without such a certificate Administration will be at liberty to cancel any prior approval given to the project or volunteers.
  10. Projects and activities shall be undertaken in accordance with safe work practices, proper project design, sound construction methods and high regard for our respective duty of care for volunteers and beneficiaries.  Where required, building plans and permits shall be sighted prior to commencement of a project.
  11. A preliminary risk assessment shall be carried out and appropriate steps taken to mitigate against possible risks.  The risk assessment must also address any potential risks which local church members or students may be exposed.  A preliminary risk assessment shall be submitted to mission administration prior embarkation.  Without such planning Mission Administration will be at liberty to cancel any prior approval given to the project or volunteers.  Mission Administration may at its discretion restrict or direct the project to be modified if it determines in its discretion that there are elements of unacceptable risk.  An onsite review and assessment shall subsequently be carried out prior to commencement of the project or activity.
  12. Child Protection Guidelines shall be adhered to by all volunteers and supporting ministries.  Individuals or groups working with children shall submit to Mission Administration copies of Statutory Declaration or Working with Children Check.  Long-term volunteers shall submit a police check in accordance with the provisions of labor law. Mission Administration may at its discretion restrict or direct the project to be modified if it determines in its discretion that there are elements of unacceptable risk.  Development of project/activity specific child protection work plan may be requested.  Without such compliance Administration will be at liberty to cancel any prior approval given to the project or volunteers.
  13. If requested a proposed budget shall be submitted to Administration to ensure the project is adequately funded, and volunteers have adequate means to support them selves while in Vanuatu.
  14. Volunteers or denominational employees who will be engaged in significant public performance or ministry shall work through Vanuatu Mission to obtain a work permit exemption from Vanuatu Labor Office prior to embarkation.
  15. Individuals or groups who will be involved, in teaching, preaching or training shall, at the discretion of Mission Administration or its representatives participate in open dialogue to ensure that the integrity and balance of the church’s beliefs and standards is maintained.  Where an individual or groups presentation or emphasis is considered to be divisive or detrimental to the church in Vanuatu Administration will be at liberty to cancel any prior approval given to the project or volunteers
  16. Whereas Volunteers come to serve they shall not impose undue burden upon the resources of the local church, school or members. Cultural norms encourage hospitality, which may be provided under great personal sacrifice.  Volunteer and supporting ministries shall not presume to rely upon the hospitality of local people or Vanuatu Mission and provision shall be made for food and accommodation of the group or individual.  Where such hospitality is offered a clear understanding shall be reached prior to embarkation.
  17. Overseas volunteers shall be prohibited from entering into business relationships or partnerships with individuals or entities within Vanuatu Mission.  It is also considered inappropriate to give or receive gifts and gratuities in excess of normal cultural practices.  Offers and acceptance of land, houses etc are to be discouraged.
  18. Donations of equipment or funds by volunteers and supporting ministries to local churches, schools or individual workers shall be made through the Mission office to ensure proper appropriation and accountability
  19. While engaged in project activity Volunteers and supporting ministries shall be under the supervision and direction of the relevant mission personnel and work in cooperation with the Pastor, Principal or District Director, Departmental Director.
  20. Long-term volunteers shall be regarded as employees and shall sign a volunteer agreement or contract.  Job Description and lines of accountability and authority shall be specified.  Work Permit or exemption shall be obtained prior to embarkation.
  21. Where appropriate Supporting Ministries with and established and ongoing working relationship shall enter into memorandum of understanding or agreement with Vanuatu Mission detailing the nature of the relationship and any special terms or provisions.
  22. Volunteers shall at all times including during recreational and tourist activities uphold the highest Christian standards and principles of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Non-Adventists participating in groups shall be requested to do likewise.
  23. At its discretion Mission Administration in consultation with field staff or local boards may prior to or during a project withdraw or cancel its approval of a project or activity being conducted by a supporting ministry or volunteer.  Under such circumstances supporting ministries and volunteers shall comply with the request and directives of the Mission to cease and desist all activity.
  24. A written and/or visual report of all projects or activities shall be submitted to Mission Administration.  Such reports may be used for news and promotional purposes.
  25. Mission Administration may amend the preceding guidelines at any time.  Mission Administration shall be authorized to apply other requirements and guidelines as it sees fit to conduct the work of the church in a proper manner. Where deemed necessary, this shall include temporary or additional guidelines applicable to specific individuals or groups.

To Read an inspiring story about a recent Volunteer Project click here