Want to Give Back? Start by Looking at the Opportunities That Churches Offer
Our country was founded up on freedom of religion and has always had a strong foundation in religion. This is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that there are almost 175 million Christian adults who live in the United States, despite the reports that claim Christianity and faith is waning. Churches offer many important services, including spiritual work, community outreach, community service, and other forms of aid and support. Children and teenagers can learn how to give back by doing faith-based volunteering — many churches run soup kitchens, food banks, and organize other volunteer opportunities and events that benefit the community they serve. A church is also an excellent place to find a group of people who share your beliefs and values and usually are very welcoming; it’s a great place to go to if you’re new in a place and looking to meet people.
What are the Most Common Types of Churches?
Although the percentages are certainly shifting, most Americans attend a Christian church, as opposed to practicing Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or other faiths. Almost 85% of Americans identify as Christian. Catholics make up the largest singular type of Christians, with different types of Protestant faiths making up the other types of Christianity. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (abbreviated CSGC) located at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary reports that there are a little over 40,000 different Christian denominations and organizations all over the world. In 2014, it was reported that there were over 35 million mainline Protestants — these denominations include Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians, among many others. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center also indicates that evangelical denominations and nondenominational congregations are growing in number, with over 60 million adult followers. These types of churches include Assemblies of God, Churches of Christ, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Why Should I Be Going to Church At All?
Studies have shown that fewer than six-in-ten Millennials identify themselves with any type of Christianity — while older generations had at least seven-in-ten — and a little over 35% of younger Millennials claim no religious affiliation. These numbers have led to much discussion within the church and many claim that the importance of church is waning in modern society. However, church can provide an important spiritual and emotional outlet.
For many, church is a place to recenter and reconnect. It’s a chunk of time that can be carved out of our busy lives to regroup and prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for the week ahead. They can join with others who think and worship similarly and be part of a larger community. This can be especially useful in a large city or a place a person might feel isolated in. Churches are usually very good at welcoming newcomers and opening their doors to those in need.
For those wanting to be active in their community, faith-based volunteering is a great way for them to give back, see what needs to be done in the community, and get to know others. In some cases, they may even be able to extend their services to other communities within the country or internationally. They can quite literally practice their faith by giving back.
What Sorts of Faith-Based Volunteering Can I Do?
Faith-based volunteering can take many different forms. Like discussed before, many churches have soup kitchens, food banks, or food pantries attached to them, which offers a useful service to the community. Other churches may offer educational programs, like tutoring or childcare. They may run youth programs or connect with the elderly in some fashion or another. There may also be clothing drives, fundraisers, or opportunities to build if there’s a bigger crisis in the area or the country. All these events need help being directed, coordinated, and carried out. Volunteering allows you to practice your faith, build strong ties to each other and the community, and lets you give back in a significant way.
In many areas, churches remain an important institution in the community. It’s important to not write them off or discount the significant positive impact they can have on an area.