According to a new Lifeway Research survey, less than one-third (30%) of churchgoers reported volunteering for a charity or ministry in the previous year. The survey, which included 1,002 American Protestant churchgoers, also revealed that a majority of congregations encourage their members to actively engage in service.
Among the respondents, 30% answered affirmatively when asked if they had participated in any type of volunteer work for a charity, ministry, church, or non-ministry organization in the previous year. However, the majority, 66%, responded negatively.
For churchgoers who attend services four or more times per month and evangelicals, the percentage of those who volunteered increases to 37%.
Comparatively, government data indicates that 23% of Americans as a whole report volunteering their time.
Scott McConnell, the executive director of Lifeway Research, commented on the findings, stating that participating in volunteer work becomes easier when charities or organizations organize the effort, recognize the need, develop a plan, and gather necessary resources.
He noted that while churchgoers express a desire to serve, less than a third actually showed up to assist a charity in the previous year.
The survey also highlighted that 84% of churchgoers indicated that their congregation encourages involvement in ministries or projects that serve people in the community who are not affiliated with their church.
Additionally, 86% expressed a desire to serve individuals in their community who are not affiliated with their church, with the hope of having opportunities to share the Gospel.
McConnell clarified that the study did not measure individual acts of service that churchgoers may have performed for their neighbors, which can also be valuable forms of service. However, he emphasized that addressing widespread community needs often requires volunteers working together, something that a majority of churchgoers do not engage in over the course of a year.