Read about this series of posts here, The Christian Culture Survival Guide.
In an effort not to feel out of the loop, I looked for opportunities to volunteer at my church. However, not everybody would seek the help of a young, depressed young man. I did, however, find a place for myself. My job included me taking the personal information of newcomers, and given them a complimentary package of Christian pamphlets and brochures. At first I thought I was training myself to be a true soul winner for Christ Jesus. Later, I realized that not everybody wanted to accept Jesus, and some did it because they were pointed out in front of the congregation as being newcomers. Embarrassingly, and unwillingly, they’d go to the front of the church and mutter the sinner’s prayer. Our group (for some reason, dressed in orange vests) would then tend to these people. I didn’t want to be involved in that. For one, it was embarrassing wearing an orange vest for no real reason. Also, I was a bad soul winner. I didn’t volunteer for much else afterwards. According to Matthew Paul Turner, these are the more popular ways to volunteer.
1. Opening up your house for small group meetings- We had small group meetings on Fridays at somebody’s house to learn about the bible for an hour and a half. We might sing a praise song or two. This meant no plans on Friday.
2. Nursery- Probably the most dreaded volunteer service, though popular amongst mothers.
3. Ushering- Pass out bulletins and the offering plate doesn’t seem so hard. Traditionally, older gentlemen would take this responsibility. However, at the local Mormon Church young adults seize this task.
4. Teaching Children’s Sunday School- Popular amongst the young female adults in my church. Involves singing annoying songs, and telling boring biblical stories.
5. A Singer in the Praise and Worship Band- Popular amongst people who couldn’t sing in my church. Also involves singing annoying songs.
6. Janitorial Responsibilities- We didn’t have a need for this job. The reason for that was because we did not have a church. Sunday service might’ve taken place at the local school gym, or at a hotel.
7. Leading an Adult Small Group- This, unlike just lending your house for group meetings, involves you being in charge of the meeting. This may mean lending your voice to an acoustic version of the most recent praise song, and reading a bible verse and trying to make a mini-sermon out of it.
8. Special Music- I don’t see much of a difference between this and number 5. However, Mr. Turner emphasizes that if you cannot sing, then don’t.
This isn’t the only list. There might be other church volunteer services available depending on the church. For example, my church sold books, CDs, and DVDs before and after service. There was a volunteer service for that. (If you ever volunteered for a church, whether you’re a Christian or were, I’d love to read about some of your experiences if you’re willing to share.)
Mr. Turner also reveals two truths that I find myself in agreement with when volunteering for church services. One is that Christians are a group of people that are unpleasant to work with. Another, sexism isn’t out of the question for many church leaders. But this isn’t much of a problem when you multi-church, which is the practice of having more than one church. Perhaps one church is only good in one area, and you need more of god’s word (however, reading a good book is a much better option in my opinion). There are five benefits to "multi-churching".
1. Options- Your schedule is more flexible when you have an array of churches to choose from that offer services every hour of the day.
2. Faith Differences- Because we all know that Christianity has many different sects. Nobody of any sect can point a finger now.
3. Youth Programs- Your child now has more options to choose from.
4. Teaching- You can develop more opinions of your own when you have various “teachers”. However, I’d like to recommend reading literature not just relating to Christianity to get a real solid view of the world.
5. Relationships and Community- You get to meet many different types of people, with different opinions than yours.
I thought church involvement would make me a well-rounded Christian. I didn’t want to displease god. I wanted to be the best Christian I could be.
However, when I decided to research other world views that weren’t mine, I learned more than I ever did sitting in the pew every Sunday. Even if you’re a Christian, or any other follower of a different religion, I recommend joining a community with people who don’t think like you.
Perhaps they can offer you something more than your pastor may be able to- being able to acknowledge that there are other people in this world with their own convictions, their own flaws, but also their own beauty and place in the world(whether they believe in your god or not).