Welcome to the volunteer orientation resource page, where volunteers can find important information they need to know to come out and be part of a Worship Wagon service.
There are several different roles needed at each service, which are described below, and those roles are handled by one or more volunteers from our Partner Churches.
Included below are guidelines and insights that volunteers will find helpful in orientating themselves to the homeless church service environment, especially if they haven’t had prior experience working in the homeless community.
As you prepare to participate in a Worship Wagon service, consider why we are doing what we do. Jesus took his message throughout all the cities and villages. He didn’t construct a building and ask people to come to him, rather he took the Gospel message to the people. He also asked his disciples to pray earnestly to the Lord to send out laborers into his harvest. We, and the homeless folks we are serving, thank you for volunteering.
As volunteers for the Worship Wagon program, we start from a Christian foundation. We remember that we are serving and worshiping God with those on the street, not preaching to them. We treat each individual and their situation with respect, and we desire to initiate and foster long-lasting personal relationships with those in the homeless community. Humility on our part is vital in order to promote trust and friendship. We strive to preserve the dignity of those we serve. We greet our homeless friends with smiles, handshakes, and compassion.
We strive to be consistent and reliable, generally always trying to find a way to hold services each and every scheduled night. We have endured blistering heat, thunderstorms, snow, gusty winds, and bitter cold. We have found that the number of times we needed to cancel services has been 1 or 2 days each year at most.
That being said, we also believe that certain weather conditions might create an unnecessary risk for either our volunteers, our homeless friends, or both. We will use the following rules of thumb to determine if, when, and how we will hold services when the weather isn’t looking great:
In addition, for locations that aren’t protected from rain and snow, such as the Washington Park location, services will be canceled for moderate or heavy rain, snow or ice covering the ground, or single digit wind chill temps.
Partner Churches sign up to be fully responsible for one weekly session each month. We count on these faith communities to rally behind and support the Worship Wagon ministry by bringing a range of volunteers to be the “crew” for their respective service each month.
A Partner Church doesn’t have to be a church, per se, but it does need to be a Christian group of adults who desire to reach out with the Gospel in our city and be a long-standing partner with the Worship Wagon.
Partner Churches can rotate different teams and volunteers from within their own community/network, but they are committed to ensuring the Worship Wagon service is fully staffed and that the service is delivered each and every month on their chosen night.
Each Partner Church will identify an Ambassador to represent their church as the key point of contact for the Worship Wagon ministry.
The Ambassador will be the person responsible for ensuring that his/her designated night each month has a Worship Music Leader, Gospel Message Presenter, one or more Prayer Warriors, and possibly one or more Personal Testimonies.
The Ambassador will work within his/her own church community to train and mentor volunteers to be prepared to carry out the responsibilities of each of the main Worship Wagon roles.
The Worship Music Leader is responsible for the music portion of the Worship Wagon service. This typically involves 2-3 songs to begin the service, maybe a song or two in the middle, and 2-3 songs to finish the service each night. Amazing Grace is a wonderful choice as the last song, since it’s so well known and easy to sing along with.
The Worship Leader should plan all the music selections, arrange to have other worship team members present (if desired), and print out copies of the lyrics for their evening selections (20 copies is sufficient at this time).
The Worship Wagon has a sound/mixing system for the worship team’s use. We will have mic stands and music stands as well, so Worship Leaders and their teams only need to bring their personal instruments, ready to plug in and play!
The Gospel Message Presenter will prepare and deliver a short gospel message, typically 5-10 minutes in length. Another approach is to provide the Gospel message in small bits, intermixed throughout the service and in between music selections.
The Gospel Message Presenter may also consider leading the other volunteers in prayer before services, and open and close the Worship Wagon service in prayer for all those in attendance.
It’s important to keep in mind that we are worshiping “with” the homeless community. We aren’t preaching “to them“, so tailor your message as you would for any community of believers and non-believers.
Prayer Warriors make themselves available to pray with anybody in attendance before, during, or after each service. We’ll have lanyards and badges for Prayer Warriors to wear so its obvious who they are, making it easy for attendees to find them and introduce themselves.
Prayer Warriors can step away with an attendee and lead them in personal prayer before, during, or after services. Keep safety in mind and be mindful to remain within eyesight of the rest of the crowd, or have a buddy with you, at all times.
You may want to share your personal testimony. We love having individuals standing by, ready and willing to share their testimony with other folks in attendance. Testimonies are informal, from the heart, and typically 5 to 10 minutes in length.
Hearing a Personal Testimony can have a big impact on those listening, and a person’s testimony is often the gospel seed that is planted in another person’s life.