Think About It Some More: Volunteering for APC

by Rev. John Simon MDiv MTS BCC

I want to tell you a story. A personal story. My story of what led to my 12 years as a member of APC’s BOD that ended last October 2023. It was never my intention to be on the BOD. I was content with just being a member. But my Mother used to say, “if you see a good fight, get in it.” I was content with serving on the Pittsburgh, PA Annual Conference back in 2004. I was gratified and sharpened by serving on various certification committees giving back and doing for others what was done for me. I even had the nerve to volunteer as a mentor. But it was never in my wildest dreams or ambitions to set my sights on becoming a member of APC’s BOD. Until.

Until former APC President Valerie Storms whispered in my ear about a decade or more before the opportunity actually materialized. I was hesitant when asked by Valerie. I thought to myself the following musings. I’m not seasoned enough yet. And I wasn’t. My children were still young. They needed me and I needed them. I was serving as a newish parish pastor of a small, strong, inner-city congregation in addition to my full-time hospital chaplain work. I said to myself, that when I had more time in my life, we’d see. Until.

Until Valerie Storms kept asking. I believe she asked me literally about serving on the BOD for maybe 10-years straight. We were great colleagues, so I didn’t mind her playful jibes. Until.

Until the day came when my kids were older and needed my attention less—as many parents of high schoolers discover. I was settled in my parish with the right kind of help on the leadership team. I was settled on my job as a leader where I was trusted and supported. So finally I responded in the affirmative when Valerie asked again. Matter of fact, I was backdoored and floored. When.

When Valerie stopped asking me and sent a friend who is closer than a brother. Valerie dispatched Darryl Owens, a friend and member of the BOD at that time who had stepped in line as an officer to become president in four years. I served his vacated two-term and scoped out the APC culture from the inside out. I never looked back!

What I know now is this. Like in any sphere of life, one must go with the gifts and graces they were born with. I came up on the APC BOD on the Finance Committee and Ethics Committee side before being asked to serve as an officer. I have background in accounting and was a professional auditor in my first career. I enjoyed doing the work that many others didn’t seem interested in. I like to follow the money. Money demonstrates lived out values. Serving on Ethics convinced me that there was some justice in this world or at least in APC. I saw APC investing in the right areas for it’s membership. So when I was embraced ten years prior by a colleague and corralled by a friend who encouraged me to just “be John.” I said to myself, “I can do that.”

The moral of the story. You are an expert on yourself. You know what’s on your plate. Yes life has its twist and turns. Trust me I starred in “that movie.” And the season came when the “call to serve” APC in a new way took hold. The seeds of welcome and invitation were sown. I enjoyed the work. The national office Team are rock stars. I was intrigued about how the BOD operated. So I took a leap of faith trusting that bromide, “don’t be afraid to suck at something new.” (I don’t think I fumbled that much thanks to awesome BOD members, our deliberative process of decision-making and the steady hand of our CEO, Pat Appelhans.)

The point: Think about your volunteer service record to your membership organization, APC. Pray about it. Meditate on it. In your holy imagination, ask yourself what would it look like to serve one day on the BOD? Take small steps in local involvement in your state. Serve on certification committees. Attend the emails sent from the national office on opportunities to serve on the various committees, especially at annual conferences. Be intentional about showing up and just “being yourself in your skin.” Become known for being your authentic self and bring what you have to offer. Who knows where destiny will take you?

Finally this is promised. My journey in serving APC is not done yet. I still volunteer and serve as an ethics investigator and as a member of the Nominating Committee. I am a mentor to rising bright lights among us. I would not trade anything for my journey. So, what was done for me, I use these few lines to do for you.

Just think about serving APC in more intentional and meaningful ways.

I am better because of my time in volunteer services to the membership on the APC board.

And yes, serving APC as a volunteer is still a good fight!  So get in it.  We need you!


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