Volunteer in Mission (VIM)

United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) is a grassroots movement within The United Methodist Church designed to provide an official channel whereby Christians, both lay and clergy, can offer their skills and talents for Christian service locally, regionally, and around the world for short term outreach projects or purposes.

The UMVIM network offers guidance, organization, training, and support for more than 125,000 volunteers serving others by

  • ministries with the poor
  • supporting Bible study, Bible School for children,
  • building churches
  • assisting in disaster response
  • community health and medical missions
  • community or school repairs
  • education and leadership development
  • ministries of witness and evangelism

Most volunteers serve at their own expense although many engage in fundraising efforts supported by local congregations. Volunteers serve with a team (typically 5-16 persons) or as an individual.  Volunteers need to be in relatively good health, complete an application form, be willing to pay his/her own way or help to raise team funds, and agree to attend team sessions conducted by the team leader prior to departure.

The UMVIM movement began in 1976 and is organized by jurisdiction. Global Ministries networks with the jurisdictional UMVIM offices, which in turn coordinate with annual conference offices.  Check out opportunities where you could volunteer to serve!

By joining with a Team

Questions about applications, and team details should be directed to the team leader listed. In order to add a team to this list or learn more in general about Volunteers in Mission register your team with Sandra Matoushaya, Missions/VIM Coordinator.

Go to Resources for Teams if you're looking for host sites calling for teams to serve.

As Individuals through the United Methodist Church
Teams with Openings

Individuals may apply for a VIMship (Mission Team Scholarship)

Mission Area Mission Information Contact and Registration Information
Warren United Methodist Church - Pittsburgh District Warren UMC is inviting mission teams to join in its Renovation and Reinvigoration Journey.Current projects include plastering and painting Walls Contact Pastor Raphael Koikoi @ emailpastork@gmail.com or (281) 620-9928.
Kane District Ramp Ministry Volunteers needed.  They serve those with a short or long term needs. Ramps are semi-permanent and can be relocated if no longer needed. The Ramps Ministry is funded by donations only.  Contact Dean Clough @ dean.clough@gmail.com
Eastwick Neighborhood PA Voluntary Organizations Active (VOAD) in Disaster, Eastwick United and many other groups need your help in rebuilding the Eastwick neighborhood of Philly.  Please consider coming for a week. Rebuilding is currently under progress for the Eastwick neighborhood which was badly damaged after Tropical Storm Isaias right at the beginning of the pandemic.  They have about registered 45 homes needing repair, have installed air handler systems in 22 homes and have housing for volunteers at the Salt and Light Church in Philly.   Contact: Judy Moore, Volunteer Coordinator 802-299-8290IsaiasRecoveryVolunteers@gmail.com
Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference EPA's Project Restoration seeks volunteers for disaster recovery work. The new disaster response project is recruiting volunteers to help with disaster recovery work this spring. For More information click here.
Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference UMC congregations and affiliated disaster response groups have been hard at work in western Kentucky and west Tennessee with debris removal and other early response efforts, as well as planning ahead for and putting in place long term recovery initiatives–spearheaded by a collaboration between the Tennessee-Western Kentucky (TWK) and KY Annual Conferences. For more information click here.
Host Sites & Project List

The broad Project Lists of sites that are willing to host UMVIM teams can be found below. Ministries that are actively calling for assistance from UMVIM teams or that have been recommended by Western PA mission volunteers can be found here.

UMVIM Project Lists

These are sites connected through the United Methodist Church and ecumenical partners that are aware of the UMC goals of mission, our standard practices of financial accountability and are set up to welcome teams. Your reports after service help to maintain the accuracy and quality of the sites on these lists.

Conversations with a Missionary

Keep checking for future conversations.

Trainings for Churches, Team Leaders

VIM Team Leader Training

This training is for certification as United Methodist Volunteer in Mission Team Leader and is designed to equip participants to plan and lead VIM teams locally, nationally, or internationally.  It is designed for those who have previous experience as part of a VIM team or local mission service and for those who have led VIM teams and need to re-certified with the new UMVIM Handbook.

It is also helpful for those who have thought about joining a VIM team and want to know what to expect. In the process you will learn more about UMC missions and Volunteers In Mission opportunities for local churches & individuals.

VIM Team Leader Training Schedule

Keep checking for new dates. 

Each Registration is $8 and a copy of "A Mission Journey: A Handbook for Volunteers" is required.  Paper copies can be purchased through WPAUMC for $12 or online through Barnes and Noble.  E-book versions are available through BN.com or Amazon.com.  Invite your congregation to participate!  


Specialized Training in Disaster Response

These trainings for certification in Disaster Response are offered in association with United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

Early Response Team Basic Training
  • Saturday June 3, 2023 @ Baldwin Community UMC, Pittsburgh Register
Early Response Team Recertification Training

For more information contact David Kissinger at disasterresponse@wpaumc.org 

While procedures for VIM Teams are in the process of being made consistent across the US and may change in the future, these are the common practices and expectations. Once a host is ready and has issued a call for teams or has set up an on-going hosting process, the Team Leader should contact the potential host site to discuss their needs, setting, and calendar availability. Frequent host sites and those with a strong current needs are listed in the table at the bottom of this page and the Project Lists below contain comprehensive lists by geography.  Sandra Matoushaya WPA VIM Coordinator can also consult with teams in their planning process. 

Register Once basic plans and team are firm, all Team Leaders should share their team plans with their Conference VIM Coordinator. The best way to do this is online using Register Your VIM Team in the menu bar to your right or bottom. If your Team Leader has not had VIM Team Leader Training since 2013, they should take it again as this will help to ensure that you are using the current WPA legal forms. All VIM Teams should purchase VIM insurance or its equivalent to safeguard the volunteers that are serving.

Report Team Leaders are also asked to report and reflect on their experience using the online Mission Service Report after they have returned. This information can then be compiled to share with others and may be sent back to your church upon request to be used in their annual reporting on ministry (statistical and charge conference reports.)

Managing Risk Appropriately  Though we seek to reduce risk for all participants, congregations, and partners, no activity is without risk. While most teams serve with little or no incident, it is not uncommon for medical, health, political, and other conditions to arise that call for the team leader to pay attention to the safety of both individuals and sponsoring ministries. All team leaders should fully discuss risk factors with their host and teams in advance and use the following resources to address matters of liability and risk, including taking risk into consideration in your timeframe and planning. It is better to re-schedule a team than to put team members, sponsor, and hosts in high-risk scenarios.  

Current Forms for UMVIM Teams

Additional Forms In addition to short term VIM insurance, it is the Volunteers in Mission standard practice to ask each participant to fill out liability release forms to acknowledge the risk and protect the sponsoring church as well as medical release forms to ensure that medical treatment can be administered while traveling. These and additional suggested forms are distributed at VIM Team Leader trainings and are available upon request from WPA Missions/VIM Coordinator, Sandra Matoushaya at Sandra Matoushaya or by calling the UM Center.  If you are unsure if your church and mission team are using the correct paperwork, please consult with the VIM Coordinator. 

Additional Resources  Team leaders are encouraged to check the following organizations for guidelines, travel warnings, and other information that should be passed along to team members as part of their preparation and discernment before travel. 

Zika Virus  Many VIM teams and local churches have relationships and ministries in areas that are currently affected by the Zika outbreak. The CDC currently recommends that anyone traveling in Central and South America (include most of the Caribbean) create and travel with a Zika Prevention Kit. It is also suggested that you see a doctor or County Health Dept. upon return for testing as not everyone who contracts the disease has noticeable symptoms. 

Birth defects are among the most serious side effects of Zika, and therefore UMVIM’s policy is to advise that no one who is attempting to get pregnant participate in an UMVIM mission journey to a country with active Zika cases. Please note that this advisory also includes males, as the virus can be spread by sexual contact. More information from CDC. 

At this time, our VIM insurance currently continues to insure those teams traveling to Zika-affected areas. 

Follow this link to register your VIM team: https://wpa-reg.brtapp.com/RegisterVIMTeams
Follow this link to submit your VIM service report: https://wpa-reg.brtapp.com/VIMReport
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