Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Christian Volunteer Attrition Giving Rise to Collaboration Opportunities

When Hurricane Sally wreaked havoc along the Gulf Coast in September, volunteers from the Florida Baptist Convention were mobilized into action to assist in the clean-up and rebuilding process. That particular delegation was typical of emergency response teams, according to Religion News Service editor-in-chief Bob Smietana. More than half of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are faith organizations, and Smietana’s research shows that such groups are often composed of White Christian retirees.

But with demographics trending downward for the most of the largest white Christian denominations, it appears as though the pool of available volunteers is steadily becoming older and smaller. This begs the question--what will become of faith-based disaster relief with fewer available people of faith?

Political science professor Ryan Burge is concerned, because in his words, “The average American doesn’t realize all the things that churches do to make society less awful.” Burge says especially younger, religiously unaffiliated people don’t appreciate the role of organized religion as a power for good. Burge says, “It’s one of those things where you don’t know what you had till it is gone.”

Tom Young is a Southern Baptist volunteer with disaster relief, and he recognizes the need for change. Young said, “I am a full believer that we are going to have to embrace the SUV community” (spontaneous untrained volunteers) who materialize in a disaster’s aftermath. To Young, it’s better to have “people there who know what they are doing who can actually lead these young folks and teach them how to do things properly.”

As a side benefit, such collaborations can be opportunities for evangelism. Young says, “When I am working side by side with them, I can tell them about Jesus.” Denise Young, Tom’s wife, agrees. “Your life might be the only Bible most people ever read.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Even in unfavorable circumstances, God's people can still remain faithful to the person and work of Jesus. If there are fewer Christians in our immediate context, that's an opportunity for our conduct to serve as a witness to God's goodness and faithfulness.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Chick-fil-A is Closed Sunday, Except When They’re Not

The American fast food chain Chick-fil-A is a favorite among Christians for the owners’ unwavering stand against Sunday opening. But it turns out this unwavering stance has some ...

[Read More]

Man Rescues Dozens of Drivers Left Stranded by Winter Storm

Using his chains, ropes, and four-wheel drive, over the course of two days, Ryan Sivley helped rescue about 150 people stranded by the side of the road in Austin, Texas. A brutal winter ...

[Read More]