Ministry Preparation

In order to assist staff, churches, and other ministry workers who come to serve alongside us each summer, we have compiled a number of Q&A for your convenience. If you have any other questions or concerns at any time, please email us!

Questions & Answers

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 more 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 with 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 national tourists come from NJ, NY, PA, DE, and MD and most international tourists come from Quebec. Also, there are many international workers who come from countries literally all over the world.

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.

If Chapel volunteers devote their summer to full time service and do not get a job, 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. Full-time staff are expected to devote their day-time hours to training, program preparation, work at the house, and evangelism, depending on the team that they are involved in. When the hours are added up around free time, breaks, and sleep, full-time volunteer staff are allotted 8 hours of work 4-5 days per week. If anyone wishes to dedicate more time to the Chapel, there is always additional things to be done. For a sample daily schedule, please see below:

12:00PM Group staff devotions and prayer
1:00PM Training and program preparation
3:00PM Break
5:30PM Dinner and clean up
7:00PM Program rehearsal and evangelism
8:30PM Program
10:00PM Boardwalk evangelism
11:30PM Debrief and prayer
12:00AM Chapel closes and curfew
1:00AM Lights out

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 reformed church.

Does the $2000 summer fee cover all food expenses for the summer, or are staff responsible to provide their own? What other costs will there be besides personal spending money? About how much money is necessary for the summer stay?

The $2000 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, drink, or merchandise while on the Boardwalk or stock up on personal item, that will come out of their own budget. The only other foreseeable costs for the summer are for transportation to and from Wildwood and certain Chapel fees for parking a personal vehicle ($100 surcharge for a parking permit), using an air conditioning unit ($10 per room per week), and a room/key deposit ($15 returned at the end of the summer).

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.

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, as well as financial support if that is 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 your 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.

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 varies each year but has increased over the past couple years. Guest ministers and church groups vary in size and occasionally rent out rooms from area hotels if they prefer extra space.

Please email us if there are additional questions!

Letter from an Alumna Staff

Please note: Situations do change year-to-year! This was written in 2015. Please ask if you want more details or check the handbook for “official” information. Thank you!

Hello new Staff members!

Here are some things that might be good to know about what it is like to be on Staff.

First, we have a mixture of busy and calm time. Depending on the schedule and the different things you’re involved in, (i.e. skits, songs, preaching, kids ministry, evangelism, helping youth groups) you might be very busy some days and not as busy other days. If you want to remain busy, there are plenty of things to do.

The Chapel is open from noon to midnight Monday through Saturday. Staff on the evangelism team will be expected to stay at the Chapel until midnight to close up.

Thursdays are our day-off. It’s generally used for beach/town trips, naps, calling home, chores, and many other things.

Sundays are a day of rest. Staff are expected to attend one of the local churches. On Sunday evenings, Staff go back to the Chapel to attend the evening service.

The kids’ ministry is a year by year occurrence. For more information, ask Chris Byrd.

The Dunn House is within walking, biking, and driving distance of the Chapel.

In regards to meals, staff eat supper together five times a week, which is organized by the house mom and her assistants. Staff make their own breakfasts and lunches, plus suppers on Thursdays and Sundays, with the groceries provided at the house.

There is limited air conditioning and hot water.

If you’ve never been to Wildwood before, we’re twenty minutes by car from the nearest Starbucks/Walmart. There are several thrift stores, book stores, and eating places within walking/biking distance of the Dunn House. There are also several free parks, playgrounds, and beach accesses in the area.

You will be given training. We do not throw people willy-nilly into the spiritual or performing battlefields. That’s what our coordinators are for. Feel free to talk to them specifically about that. Also, our director, James Zozzaro, is awesome. He gives a series of seminars over the course of the summer called Defining and Defending the Faith. He has a list of books on the subject that he would love to share with you.

Finally, the best way to prepare yourself for Staff is through prayer. There’s all this distracting logistical stuff, but at the heart of everything we do on Staff is God. Talk to Him.

We are so excited to meet each of you in person and work with you this summer!

God bless!