In the Evangelical Lutheran Church we invite everybody to participate in the life of the church. One way to participate is to attend a Sunday service. There are multiple other ways in which you can invest your time and energy in the church, too. However little or big your contribution may seem to you, it is of great value.
Some volunteers (in Danish: frivillige) help prepare food for church lunches or they may help decorate the church before the service. Others help during the service, e.g. reading from the Bible, translating the sermon from Danish into English, praying a prayer or singing in the church choir. If the church has a youth club, assisting the leaders may be a possibility. You might be able to help organise a camp or a weekend for the whole or part of the congregation. Or you may visit an elderly member of the congregation on a regular basis. In some churches, you will find something like job announcements for volunteers. In other churches, you may have to take the initiative and ask the pastor or the parish helper if they need volunteers.
Congregations are led by a parish council. This consists of volunteers who are elected for a period of four years. The council constitutes the leadership of the congregation. It manages the economy of the congregation and is responsible for employing staff. The parish council are also central in the appointment of pastors though their choice has to be ratified by the Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs. The parish council and the pastor have joint responsibility for creating and maintaining good conditions for the church service, the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.
To be elected to the parish council, you must be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark and belong to the parish where you want to get involved. The council usually meets once a month. In addition to the meetings, the members of the council are often involved in various activities and tasks in the church, some of which are carried out together with other volunteers.
Usually, each parish has a parish council consisting of 5 to 15 elected members plus the pastor(s) of the parish. However, two or more parishes can decide to join forces in one council. That is why the number of parish councils is slightly smaller than the number of parishes, i.e. about 1,919 (June 2011).