Volunteering in Religious Congregations and Faith-Based Associations

  • Ram A. Cnaan
  • Siniša Zrinšˇcak
  • Henrietta Grönlund
  • David H. Smith
  • Ming HU
  • Meme D. Kinoti
  • Boris Knorre
  • Pradeep Kumar
  • Anne B. Pessi


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.

Religion in all its forms and variations has been part of human societies since the earliest times.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ram A. Cnaan
    • 1
  • Siniša Zrinšˇcak
    • 2
  • Henrietta Grönlund
    • 3
  • David H. Smith
    • 4
  • Ming HU
    • 5
  • Meme D. Kinoti
    • 6
  • Boris Knorre
    • 7
  • Pradeep Kumar
    • 8
  • Anne B. Pessi
    • 9
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.Croatia
  3. 3.Finland
  4. 4.USA
  5. 5.China
  6. 6.Kenya
  7. 7.Russia
  8. 8.India
  9. 9.Finland

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