A volunteer is worth ten pressed men
The Way I See It

A volunteer is worth ten pressed men

Autumn 2023
Derek Hughes

Chaplain, 165th Glasgow and Glasgow Battalion

A volunteer is worth ten pressed men

That’s a quotation I learned at school… a long time ago in Bethlehem! All these years later – I do think it still rings true

Volunteers are worth their weight in gold; especially in our day and age when folk are so busy and most have more than enough to fill their waking hours. Of course, The Boys’ Brigade would not exist without a huge commitment from a large cohort of leaders, who volunteer their time and talents week after week, year after year.

Weekly meetings, special trips, events, competitions and camps; all of these demand a not insignificant section of our day, week, month and year.

My wife served as a BB leader for more than 25 years. And, I have been privileged to offer Chaplaincy to three Companies across the congregations and parishes where I have been called in the past 33 years to a ministry of Word and Sacrament. We often referred in our family to Friday dinners as “burnt offering nights”. With a nod to the sacrificial system in the Hebrew scriptures, it was recognition that we came in from other demanding tasks in the day, ran round the table stuffing hastily-heated pizza into our mouths, before jumping out again to BB.

Some of you will find the above scenario all too familiar, I’m sure. I wish though I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked how much a BB leader is paid! It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Yet, therein lies the essence of what it is to be a good volunteer in Brigade.

It’s about service, NOT self. And, when we think about it a little more deeply, we can see that this is actually just as it should be. As we endeavour to advance Christ’s kingdom amongst young people, we are called to follow Jesus’ shining example of servanthood.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that receiving some small acknowledgment; a word of thanks; a handshake; is either off-limits or unwelcome. So, allow me, as one who has been blessed to be involved with The Boys’ Brigade now for 46 years, to offer that grateful thanks to each and every leader reading this. THANK YOU. Keep on keeping on.

Yours, in the service of Christ.

Derek first encountered the good news of Jesus through a friend who took him along to BB From an entirely non-Church background, Derek came to faith and was baptised in his late teens. He graduated from Stirling University and spent five years teaching before answering a call to ordained ministry in the Church of Scotland. Married to Elizabeth, they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Presently, he serves a priority area parish in the east end of Glasgow. Derek keeps fit by running several times a week, and loves to read, write and play guitar.