(1) Can you describe the area of Wildwood and the Boardwalk?
The Wildwoods district is on a flat island about 5 miles long and 2 miles wide. The Boardwalk runs about two miles along the beach with shops, games, food stands, and the like on one side, and a long stretch of sand with several piers hosting rides, roller-coasters, and water parks on the other side.
The Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area is trying to reestablish the Wildwoods as a family resort and are having some moderate success. The population in the summer is in the hundreds of thousands, but the City of Wildwood only has around five thousand year-round residents. Most tourists come from NJ, NY, PA, DE, and MD.
[The area contains a number of bars and dance clubs, but we have no problem with them as a ministry, because we concentrate our work in the Chapel, on the Boardwalk and on the Beach.]
Chapel staff have written about their experiences about the area and what it is like to serve on the Boardwalk. See “A Night on the Boardwalk” here for example and other stories on the OPC Short-Term Missions page here.
(2) If Chapel volunteers are unemployed and able to devote their summer to full time service, what types of activities will occupy their day time hours? Do they have large amounts of free time?
Part-time or tent-making volunteers can work up to twenty hours per week during the day at local businesses. However, full-time staff are expected to devote their day time hours to service and training. A sample daily schedule for full-time staff is provided below:
10:00 AM Staff devotions and prayer
11:00 AM Evangelism training led by the Evangelism Coordinator
12:00 PM Lunch and break
1:30 – 2:30 PM Apologetics seminar given by the Chapel Director
2:30 – 4:30 PM Music and Drama practice / Evangelism at the Chapel
4:30 PM Free time
5:30 PM Supper and clean up
7:00 PM Evening program rehearsal
8:30 – 10:00 PM Chapel program
10:00 – 11:00 PM (or 12:00 AM on certain weekdays) Chapel and Boardwalk evangelism
12:00 AM Curfew
All staff are given Thursdays off and at times the Director may set time aside for the staff to fellowship as a group. Sundays are a day of rest from Chapel responsibilities and other work, and staff are required to worship at a local church of their choosing.
(3) Does the $1500 summer fee cover all food expenses for the summer, or are staff responsible to provide some of their own? What other costs will there be besides personal spending money? About how much money is necessary for the summer stay?
The $1500 amount covers all room and board expenses at the Dunn House for the summer (June through August, usually about 12 weeks long). If staff wish to buy food or drink while on the Boardwalk or stock up on personal treats, that will come out of their own funds. The only other foreseeable cost for the summer is for transportation to and from Wildwood.
Staff who are concerned about finances for the summer are encouraged to talk to the Director, since the Chapel does not turn away applicants because of their inability to pay the entire program fee.
(4) Is there any kind of preparation that should be done in advance to prepare for the summer ministry?
Prayer, of course. Serving at the Chapel is a difficult ministry. Night after night the Chapel is open to all kinds of people on the Boardwalk. Weariness, discouragement, and slackness can easily set in for any of the staff. While days off and fellowship with other believers help encourage staff, the Lord’s work can only be done with His power.
Read and memorize Scripture. The truth that is proclaimed at the Chapel comes from the Bible and a familiarity with the Word is essential. Also see information in the Gospel tract called “Trusting Christ.”
Ask for prayer support from the local church, and financial support if needed. The Chapel ministry could not continue without the faithful prayers and help given by churches all around the nation, and likewise individual staff need that support from brothers and sisters in their home church.
Make sure that personal finances are in order. Most staff are full time volunteers or coordinators and, at most, part time or tent making staff are able to work 20 hours a week. Essentially, it is a sacrifice for staff to come and minister in Wildwood.
(5) Are there generally a large number of applicants who have to be turned away?
The Chapel does not receive a large number of staff applications each summer, but there is usually a waiting list for church groups hoping to serve for a week. The Dunn House has a certain amount of staff it can hold (there are 9 rooms for singles and 3 suites for couples), and the Chapel has upstairs and downstairs apartments for different church groups each week throughout the summer. The average number of staff each year is 14 individuals, with the lowest being 11 and the highest being 19 over the past decade. Guest ministers and church groups vary in size and occasionally rent out rooms from area hotels if they prefer extra space.
Please email the Director if there are additional questions.