Calling Forth Catechists: Why People Volunteer

Calling Forth Catechists - text near loudspeakers

As you call forth vocations to catechesis, it’s good to know why people volunteer in the first place. Understanding why people volunteer makes it easier to identify and invite people to volunteer. Research shows that people volunteer for the following reasons.

  • Achievement—to learn new skills, accomplish something worthwhile, increase self-esteem
  • Challenge—to stretch themselves, discover gifts and talents
  • Creativity—to express themselves creatively
  • Independence—to undertake a task on their own (separate from spouse or family)
  • Leadership—to develop personal leadership ability
  • Recognition—to accomplish something that will reflect positively (to polish their resume, etc.)
  • Self-Expression—to articulate and pass on strongly held beliefs
  • Service—to be of service to others, give back
  • Socialization—to make new friends

Research also shows that women volunteer more than men and that the age group most willing to volunteer is between 35 and 44.

For great ideas on recruiting and retaining catechists, see Jayne Ragasa-Mondoy’s book on Cultivating Your Catechists (part of the Effective Catechetical Leader series).

Read other posts in the Calling Forth Catechists series here.

About Joe Paprocki 2746 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

2 Comments on Calling Forth Catechists: Why People Volunteer

    • Hi Kay and thanks for your question. While there are some similarities and some overlap, in general, vocation is a much broader reality than volunteering. One may volunteer to do something on a short term basis without giving much deep thought to it or without “investing” oneself much in it. For example, I may volunteer for an event in order to impress someone, get to know someone, or add a line to my resume while not really having much real interest in the actual volunteer work per se. A vocation is something that arises out of and is nurtured by prayer since it is a calling from God. A vocation requires deep thought as it is intimately related to the lifestyle we choose. To be a catechist is a vocation because it is a commitment to live a certain lifestyle and to apprentice others into that lifestyle. Even when we are not formally teaching as a catechist, we are striving to live as disciples of Christ. Having said all that, vocations often arise out of volunteer experiences. Thus, it is worthy looking at why people volunteer in order to find entry points into sowing the seeds of a vocation as a catechist. I hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.