In addition to being one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive human services organizations, Volunteers of America is an interdenominational Christian church – a church with a distinctive ministry of service. For more than 100 years, Volunteers of America has provided essential services to heal both the body and soul. We provide human service programs and opportunities for individual and community involvement for people of all faiths.
Many of Volunteers of America's religious beliefs and practices can be traced in a direct line to the Methodist reforms and revivalism of the 18th century, and the social gospel movement of the 19th and early-20th centuries. More immediately, the church of Volunteers of America is an outgrowth of Salvationism, founded in England in 1878 by William Booth, an evangelical Methodist minister and the father of Ballington Booth, co-founder of Volunteers of America.
Volunteers of America has been ecumenical from the beginning. Its ministers have always come from all Christian faith traditions. Ballington Booth, our Founder, led the way in 1896, not long after the founding of VOA, when he was ordained simultaneously by four denominations including Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational.
Volunteers of America's Ministry offers men and women a special path on their journeys of faith. While ministers are drawn from every Christian denomination, they are encouraged to serve as active members of other churces. Board members, volunteers and community members who are active in the work of our Church are also offered the opportunity to become fully involved in the Volunteers of America Ministry by becoming Constituent Ministers and providing the message of God or by providing the social ministry of the Church. This understanding of ministry derives from the foundation of Volunteers of America as both a church itself and as an "auxiliary" to the universal Christian church with a special mission of service.
Volunteers of America offers people a very unique opportunity to put their faith into action. The Church of Volunteers of America acts as a servant to all other churches. We provide opportunities for individuals and congregations to express their faith in action. Working together with the help of our committed volunteer board members and volunteers, we can achieve our collective mission and make the world a more compassionate place to live.