Imagine this: You see an advertisement for a nonprofit with a compelling case for support. The organization’s mission resonates with you and you’re deeply moved by their work. If you’re looking for a practical way to align your faith with your support for this cause, volunteering is a great way to do it.
In this guide, we’ll explore three ways you can support a nonprofit cause and strengthen your personal faith:
- Connect with like-minded believers
- Put your faith into practice
- Gain a sense of purpose
If the nonprofit’s mission aligns with your religious beliefs, you’ll find fulfilling work through volunteer opportunities for the organization. Let’s take a closer look at the ways volunteering can connect with your faith.
Connect with like-minded believers
Esther Press’s guide to Bible studies for women explains that communion with fellow believers is an important part of your faith. But communion with other believers doesn’t just take place in the church building.
Volunteering can help you connect and potentially form long-term friendships with people who hold similar values. You won’t just be working alongside like-minded believers, though. Volunteer opportunities also allow you to connect with:
- Donors: Not all acts of service are standard, volunteer roles. Those who serve a nonprofit through monetary or in-kind donations likely also resonate with its cause and believe in its mission. You may find several like-minded donors who are heavily involved in the nonprofit and share in your faith.
- Nonprofit staff members: The people who run a nonprofit, such as those in charge of managing volunteer roles, have dedicated their careers to this organization and its charitable work. They likely hold similar values to yours, especially if their dedication to nonprofit work is that strong!
- Beneficiaries: Acts of service will undoubtedly impact the nonprofit’s beneficiaries in practical ways, such as giving food to the hungry. But you can offer extra encouragement when you connect with beneficiaries of your volunteer work who share in your faith.
If you don’t encounter like-minded people in your volunteer role, use it as an opportunity to share your faith! For example, let’s say you volunteer with an organization that provides healthcare materials to women facing economic hardship. Your interactions with the nonprofit’s beneficiaries provide perfect opportunities to share your favorite Christian book for women, pray over someone, or invite them to visit your church.
People will be more receptive to your outreach when they see you living out your faith by giving back to the community.
Put your faith into practice
Maybe you volunteer because you love a cause, or perhaps you have a personal connection to the organization. Regardless of the reason, serving others is a core value of your faith, and volunteering is one of the best ways to do that.
For most things in life, practice makes perfect, and the same can be said about volunteering! Various acts of service yield virtuous habits, such as:
- Patience: Acts of service allow you to practice working patiently with others through volunteer teamwork and by addressing the needs of the nonprofit’s beneficiaries. For example, if you’re volunteering at an animal shelter, you might practice patience with a rowdy dog that is difficult to control.
- Compassion: Exposure to serious situations can be a humbling experience and make you aware of issues you never knew existed. By serving those who are less fortunate or facing serious challenges, you’ll learn to have compassion for their situations.
- Gratitude: It’s easy to lose sight of how fortunate we are, and many volunteer roles give you a front-row seat to difficult situations. This can make you more grateful for what you have and help you reevaluate your perspective of needs versus wants.
The virtues you practice during your free time will translate into other aspects of your life, such as your work and social life. That way, you’ll reinforce the virtuous living you learn and talk about in your Christian circles and truly live out your faith.
Gain a sense of purpose
While the main focus of acts of service is on others, it can also be a transformative experience for the volunteer when they see the impact they’re making. In fact, 96% of volunteers say their sense of purpose is enriched by volunteering.
Becoming part of something greater through volunteer events can give you the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a difference. You’ll also develop valuable skills that can be used in your career field, social life, and elsewhere, such as:
- Teamwork: Getting Attention’s guide to volunteer recruitment points out that some volunteer positions allow individuals to advance specialized skills while others are a team effort, meaning you’ll need to coordinate with fellow volunteers to achieve the end goal of the position. This can help you understand your role as a team member, which is also reflected in your faith when you share encouragement with others.
- Time management: The ability to effectively manage your time is an invaluable skill, both in volunteering and in your faith. It relates to your ability to prioritize the most important tasks and use your time wisely to fulfill a great purpose. That way, you’ll be well-equipped to accomplish important tasks in a timely manner.
- Communication: Volunteering requires varying types of communication with beneficiaries, fellow volunteers, and nonprofit leaders. For example, let’s say you’re volunteering at a shelter for women who have escaped unsafe living environments. In your volunteer role, you’ll learn how to comfort women facing difficult circumstances, but you’ll also coordinate with fellow volunteers to work efficiently.
The most important thing you can do to make the most of your volunteer roles is to use God’s Word to guide your decision-making. As you understand your identity in Christ, you’ll become empowered to act like Christ and use your volunteer work to reflect your faith. Since the purpose of the Christian life is to serve God, serving others through volunteer work is a natural step toward fulfilling your purpose.
Beyond benefitting the people who are impacted by your volunteer efforts and the nonprofits who need your help, acts of service can also be beneficial to the volunteer. When searching for volunteer opportunities, find nonprofit missions that align with your faith. That way, you’ll be more likely to find a nonprofit to deeply invest which could lead to a long-term commitment to serving that organization.