First, let’s make clear the difference between being matched to an OYC site and qualifying for an OYC.
Different sites are looking for different kinds of volunteers, depending on their specific needs. One site, for example, is only looking for a single sister to volunteer, because of a lack of women in their campus ministry now. Others are seeking people who have leadership experience already. Some are only able to take self-supporting volunteers.
When you register for an OYC, you’re just being matched to sites who need volunteers like you! If, for example, you are planning to go on an OYC in the next year, and can serve for a year or longer, you may be matched with State College, PA or Storrs, CT. If you are not planning to go within the next year and don’t plan to stay for at least a year, you won’t be matched with these sites…but you may be matched with Eugene, OR. All registration does is match you with sites for which your personal profile indicates you might be a good fit.
Once you’ve been matched to different sites, you get to choose where you are willing to consider serving. That will begin a conversation with those specific site leaders: are you ready to come serve at this site? Would it be a good opportunity for you to serve, and would the site be helped by your being there?
Here are some things you might discuss:
- Preparations. Are you serving well where you are now? Is this something you have prayerfully considered? Have you been getting yourself ready spiritually for an OYC by praying and building Biblical convictions?
- Money. Can you support yourself? Do you have a lot of debt? Will you be able to pay off your debt at the place you are going to? How much money will you need to prepare before you go?
- Support of others. Does your home church support your OYC dream? Are you being asked to slow down, or encouraged to step out on faith? Is your family supportive? If not, how best can you communicate with them about your OYC?
- Fit. Do you think you’d be able to fit in well with the place you’ll live and the people you’ll be serving with? Is the ministry style of the place you’re going to one you can really get behind? Are you ready to be trained, and do you trust the person who will be training you?
You can’t answer these questions in a one-sided conversation with yourself, or even with people in your home church only! The only way to make progress on this is to register for an OYC.
Find out which sites you are matched to, choose the ones you are willing to consider, then start the qualification conversation!