|The "RV Side" of this On-The-Road ministry|
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Providing Database & Software assistance to Ministries On-The-Road
This page contains material
* for those interested in the "life-style" side of the ministry, and perhaps becoming involved in a similar service.
* that will use typical talks to other campers answering "what do you do?" , etc.
* at the end of each sub-section I will attempt to present some thoughts about that subject area applicable to prospective volunteers & work-campers
Contents -- topics where I describe what I do, and some points or
questions for you to consider
The Services This Ministry Provides
Is it a Job or a Ministry?
How This Ministry Is Funded
Some Personal Background
Logistics - Getting / Being There
Some Ministries Served
Final Destination ?
RV-ing Specific Page Links
These now span two "scenes" --
-- the demarcation line falls sometime in the middle of the year 2010,
-- the watershed event was "moving day" . . . moving into a new-to-me travel trailer.
Newer Photo + Maps Page
Newer RV-ing Specific Notes + Comments
Older Photo + Maps Page
Older RV-ing Specific Notes + Comments
If you are looking to enter the Recreational-Vehicle (RV) based life with plans
to Work-Camp or Volunteer, I suggest you consider the
following "Why?" questions:
▪ Do you already have an RV - - and are looking at work-camping to meet financial needs?
▪ Do you already have an RV - - and are looking at volunteering because you are tired of sitting on the sidelines?
▪ Do you already have a vocation / avocation - - one that needs to be RV based?
How you explain your answers to these questions may help you better select you activities and adjust to the differences.
The short description of what I do: I provide on-site assistance with Databases and Software Development to Christian ministries and missions.
A core area of ministry information activity centers on "the database": the donor systems, mailing lists, student records, registration systems and the other information collections of the ministry. Using the appropriate software to gather, organize and report this information enables the ministry to better serve its constituents and to perform its mission in the world.
Each Christian ministry or mission requires solutions that fit their ministry-specific needs, this means someone needs to work face-to-face and side-by-side with them to build those solutions. The use of an RV facilitates staying days, weeks, and even months when necessary.
As a matter of accountability, I deliver this service through one of --
Tech Serve International of Greenbrier Arkansas or
Mission Builders International of Lakeside Montana
The "hat worn" depends upon your ministry's circumstances.
We are neither affiliated with nor limited to serving any specific denomination ... but we are focused on Supporting computers in ministries . . to bring people to Christ.
For more details, Click on this Link for Services Details over on the Information for Ministry Clients side of the web-site. Some example projects are also outlined there.
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The service I provide falls in the "helps ministry" class of activity. If you find your life-purpose includes a helping-servant component, there are many opportunities for volunteers to be of assistance (and a few expense paid positions) .
Because it is a helps ministry, I must generally be responsive to the requests for assistance at their time and place - - this makes scheduling and travel plans more uncertain. Although I try to arrange the south/north locations to match the winter/summer seasons, that is not always possible. Ideally, the travel would be only 300 to 600 miles between each place - - but that has not happened consistently yet.
So, as you have probably guessed by now, I focus on the Database and Software Development areas. Both Tech Serve International and Mission Builders International provide other services -- this on-the-road service is focused on a specific area of ministry development: the effective management of information.
Since I have been working in these areas since the 1960s, I bring a very high level of professional quality service that, although expected in the commercial world, is often not available in the Christian ministry / missions environment.
There is a significant need in missions for applying this broad ranging background of expertise -- yet that need is often not recognized because the ministries have not had exposure to what is possible. I often illustrate this with the image of sewing by hand using simply a needle and thread - - and not knowing what a sewing machine could accomplish.
In my work, I often wear multiple "hats": Architect, Designer, Engineer, Programmer, Teacher, and Chief-Cook-and-Bottle-Washer.
- - - - - - -
What are your skills, gifts or talents?
I suggest you not be "too specialized", limiting yourself to a single skill or talent. Allow for multiple venues and modes of service. In my particular case, I specialize in a very focused section of computer systems - - however I also have done work on a Habitat for Humanity build (and other ministry construction/repair projects). If the Lord has given you diverse talents, there may well be many opportunities to diversify - - perhaps to be a blessing to someone outside your normal scope of activity.
A part of my work is teaching . . . do you like training others? There are several ministries that need teaching-mentors for specific topics as well as general life skills.
If you think you would like to be involved in the technical work aspects of this ministry (or one similar to it), please email me -- I have several possibilities for you to consider.Top
Is it a Job or is it a Ministry? This question has been asked before, with several variations of answers by different people:
A job is your choice;
A ministry is at Christ’s call.
In a job you expect to receive;
In a ministry you expect to give.
In a job you give something to get something;
In a ministry you return something that has already been given to you.
A job depends on your abilities;
A ministry depends on your availability to God.
A job done well brings you praise;
A ministry done well brings honor to Christ.
(This version attributed to James N. Spurgeon.)
A common question is "How do you pay for all this?" The four basic approaches are:
1 - Client Ministries That Can Pay For Services and/or Expenses
2 - Missionary Donors -- the traditional 'faith support' approach
3 - Tent Making -- working "on the side"
4 - Project Sponsors
Of these, the first two provide the majority of the funds. I would like to see more project sponsors who would continue their involvement in the client ministry after the sponsored work was delivered. I tend to avoid the tent-making approach because it can become a limitation on time available for actual ministry service.
For the question "Why not free?" and details specific to this ministry, Click on this Link for Finances Details over on the Information for Ministry Clients side of the web-site.
- - - - - - -
Volunteers will typically cover all their own mobilization and living expenses
while on a project;
Work-Campers generally receive some compensation to offset expenses (often a camp site with full-hookups).
Sometimes it is difficult to draw a clear line between these two modes of service.
It is normal to expect the ministry to provide all the materials needed for a project, however, you will often need your own tools.
Before you begin a volunteer or work-camper career, it is wise to 'count the costs'. If you anticipate moving into a full-time RVer situation, remember to include both vehicle replacement and an "exit plan" in your thinking.
What works and What needs improvement in this
For the most part, this plan covers operating expenses fairly well. Traditionally the standard business mileage rate has always been below actual costs of operation for a vehicle - - so having to cover this shortfall is not unexpected. Except during periods waiting for the "next assignment", monthly housing (camp-site) 'rent' costs are covered. Generally utilities (water & electric) are included in the camp-site, although some commercial campgrounds may meter electricity as an additional cost. By living frugally, funds can be shifted to cover other areas.
However capital expenses are not directly addressed. Unlike a house, an RV is a depreciating asset which is being 'roughly' handled as it bounces down the roads (extra expenses, replacement costs, .... etc.) Service specific specialty tools (like computers) require upgrades or replacement. To a certain degree these capital expenses can be deferred for a while - - however things do wear out and fail, requiring replacement. Presently frugality and fund-shifting are a temporary patch.
Logistics - Getting There and Being There
-- sometimes the travel is via scenic byways; however, especially when in a hurry between ministries, the Interstates with the long stretches of "sameness" get used.
-- the RV (travel trailer in this case) as home ...
Some ministries have camp sites with varying levels of
utilities included, a few request a nominal payment to use the site - -
others provide it gratis.
Some ministries have a cafeteria on campus at which you may eat for a couple dollars a meal.
Some ministries have apartments or dorm rooms, either gratis or for a fee.
And some ministries can not provide any residential or meal facilities on campus - - you use a commercial campground or hotel.
A note on terminology: In some geographical regions the words used to describe a recreational-vehicle are "loaded with meaning". For example, the term "RV" is generally used for the generic 'recreational vehicle' that includes all forms/styles ranging from slide-in truck-campers to travel-trailers to fifth-wheel-trailers to motor-homes; however some regions seem to apply "RV" to only "Motor-Homes". So when you are asking if a prospective service recipient can host RVs, be certain both of you understand the words to mean the same thing.
Not everyone has experience with RVs. A significant number may think
that since they can park a car in that spot, it should be OK as an
RV site. Space/Size, access, and levelness are not part of their current
understanding of what RVs need.
Some places built their camp-sites a long time ago (or used a plan from back then) when RVs were much smaller and did not have slide-outs or required significant power for other than lights. Do not expect resort quality facilities when you are volunteering or work-camping.
For more details, Click on this Link for Logistics Details over on the Information for Ministry Clients side of the web-site.
One of the issues when living full-time on-the-road providing services to Christian ministries is "fellowship".
Although "home is where you park it" is a slogan of the full-time-RVer, that place is always someplace other than home for everyone else. They have a house and stay there almost all the time. You have become the moving target, the seldom-here person.
New places, new people, new churches - - these all come with being on the road full-time.
"Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold."
Although there are problems in building and maintaining relationships, an advantage is that I am serving alongside other Christians. For the general volunteer or work-camper this kind of contact may not be available.
For more details, Click on this Link for Fellowship Details.
Communications are vital for finding new places of service, being available to advise or remotely assist prior ministry clients, and for maintaining relationships (see also the Fellowship topic).
The technology is primarily electronic: phones, cell
Paper via the post office is problematic because of the time-frame for transit/delivery.
For more details,
Click on this Link for Communications Details.
A small sampling of the ministries served, grouped by kind:
Hard Hats for Christ -- Kelso WA
Mission Builders International -- Lakeside MT
Hope Force International -- Nashville TN
Tech Serve International -- Greenbrier AR
Bible Translation Ministries:
The Seed Company (Wycliffe) -- Arlington TX
Gospel Recordings Network -- Temecula CA
Avant Ministries -- Kansas City MO
New Tribes Mission Training & MK Centers -- Camdenton MO
Village Missions -- Dallas OR
Residential Youth Programs:
Wears Valley Ranch -- Wears Valley TN
In years past, there have been a couple of churches, but that is not a significant focus audience of this particular ministry.
For more details, Click on this Link for Services Details over on the Information for Ministry Clients side of the web-site where a longer list is shown.