Volunteering in religious congregations and faith-based associations

Ram A. Cnaan, Siniša Zrinščak, Henrietta Grönlund, David H. Smith, Ming Hu, Meme D. Kinoti, Boris Knorre, Pradeep Kumar, Anne B. Pessi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter juxtaposes the vast knowledge regarding volunteering and voluntary associations with the world of religion. We start with the premise that more people volunteer within, and on behalf of, religious organizations than in any other organizational setting in the United States and certain other nations. We review the history of religion and religious volunteering, followed by a typology of the various forms of religious volunteering. We discuss how religious associations are formed, distinguishing between local religious congregations and faith-based organizations. Given the importance of local religious congregations, we discuss congregational volunteering, lay-leadership, and member volunteering in these voluntary associations. One section looks at monasteries/convents and communes/intentional communities as residential religious associations. We conclude with new challenges and relevant policies that affect religious volunteering.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Volunteering, Civic Participation, and Nonprofit Associations
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781137263179
ISBN (Print)9781137263162
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© David Horton Smith, Robert A. Stebbins, and Jurgen Grotz 2016 and Respective authors 2016. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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