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Open AccessArticle

Baby Boomers as Congregational Volunteers in Community Ministry

College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Baylor University, One Bear Place, #97320, Waco, TX 76798-7320, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Wineburg
Religions 2017, 8(4), 66;
Received: 26 November 2016 / Revised: 4 April 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground)
Religious congregations are a significant setting for volunteerism in the United States, and increasing rates of volunteerism correlate with age. Because of their prolonged health and increased longevity, the large boomer generation represents a potentially significant volunteer resource for congregations. But current research on boomers and congregational life provides little information about this age cohort for engaging them in community ministry. Using a large purposive sample (n = 2883) drawn from Protestant congregations in four regions of the U.S., we explore differences between boomer volunteers and non-volunteers including self-reported motivations, barriers, and outcomes. Despite similarities in most demographics and barriers to volunteering, volunteers and non-volunteers report differing levels of motivation for and outcomes of volunteering. Using service-learning concepts to explore how characteristics of volunteer opportunities influence the faith of volunteers, we found that certain program characteristics indeed correlate with positive outcomes while other characteristics are generally absent. Based on these findings, we provide guidance for both congregation and community agency leaders to increase and enhance opportunities for boomer volunteers. View Full-Text
Keywords: religious congregation; community ministry; volunteerism; baby boomer religious congregation; community ministry; volunteerism; baby boomer
MDPI and ACS Style

Wolfer, T.A.; Myers, D.R.; Polson, E.C.; Bevis, B. Baby Boomers as Congregational Volunteers in Community Ministry. Religions 2017, 8, 66.

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