Churches are one of the few remaining community-gathering places that we flock to routinely. Meeting with neighbours, hearing the word of God, or participating in a service, churches provide lots of rewarding opportunities to support others and receive support when you need it most.
As with any other organization or community center, churches can struggle too. Fortunately, the church can always benefit from your help as a volunteer. There may be programs that you can help run or assist with. You may also engage in mentorship opportunities, helping you support the church in building positive connections between community members.
Here is everything you need to know about how to help your church in your local community.
1. Attend weekly mass
The first step to supporting your church is to attend the services simply. Attendance is key to churches and their ability to join people together. By being present and showing up, you’re offering more than most people think.
Everyone has their own personal belief system. If you know of others who share yours, don’t hesitate to invite them to church with you. This, once again, helps to bring up attendance numbers, encourages more participation, and gets more people sharing in this sense of community.
2. Make newcomers feel welcome
It’s not uncommon to see people shop around different churches, searching for one that suits them. This is more common today than ever before, with more of us moving around for work, travelling, education, and other reasons. Especially if your church is small, if you spot unfamiliar faces, be sure to welcome them or say hello. A smile and a quick acknowledgment can make someone feel like less of an outsider.
Offering yourself up in service of the community can often be a more helpful and positive act than trying to spread the word of a specific church. Creating awareness is one thing. Risking offending people is another. The most successful churches in communities across the country get to be that way in part from their efforts to show their community a sermon rather than to tell you one. When you do good and focus on good, the message spreads itself.
Though not everyone can, donating means a lot to a church. Donating to a mission or service fund is incredibly helpful at allowing your church to pursue initiatives and get real assistance directly to people in need. Many churches, like the United Church of Canada, go out of their way to do lots of good for communities all over the world. This wouldn’t be possible without donations from community members like you.
If you aren’t able to organize a charity event, the next best thing is to gather donations. You can do this strictly in your own household if you like, culling together old electronics, furniture, and anything unused. Especially with things like computers, tablets, and phones, churches can repurpose these as donations to families in need.
4. Run a charity event
If you don’t have the finances to donate, offer to organize a charity event instead. A bake sale, an arts and crafts fair, or even an online auction can generate revenue to help a church. Every dollar counts. This is also an excellent way to get out and meet people in your community and those already working with the church.
5. Offer to start a church group
Church gets people dressed up and out of the house. Post-church is a chance to grab some brunch, have a chat, and get to know one another. Start a small group get-together to meet afterward or at some point in the week. Talk about the church or the community. It can be as straightforward as a bible study or something more casual.
6. Participate in choir
Music is a big part of a lot of churches. Participating in church choir and music is very rewarding, putting you in front of many new people. It’s a sure way to make friends and contribute without necessarily going out of your way to do so. If you can carry a tune and aren’t sure how to help your church, inquire about joining their choir.
7. Offer up your skills
You may have a hobby or skill set you can offer your church that they may be in need of. From woodworking and handyman work to graphic design, freelance writing, photography, art, and more, offering yourself free of charge to your church is another way to help support them and potentially aid them in getting their message out to more people.
8. Offer to check on community members
If there’s one thing we learned in the pandemic, it’s that lots of people get lonely at home. A congregation might have seniors, people who have lost jobs, someone sick at the hospital, or people in need stuck at home. Be a visitor. Let your church know you’re available to drop in on people anywhere for tea or bring them a care basket.