No One Standing in the Gap

Although most churchgoers want to serve in their communities for gospel impact, there is a noticeable gap when it comes to the number who are already volunteering for a charity.

Most Protestant churchgoers say their churches encourage them to serve people not affiliated with their church and that they want to do so. But few have volunteered in the past year. More than 4 in 5 churchgoers say their churches encourage every adult to serve people outside their church (84%) and they want to serve these people in hopes of sharing the gospel (86%).

Despite saying they want to serve people who are not a part of their church, few churchgoers are even serving within the context of their own churches. Two in 3 (66%) churchgoers say they have not volunteered for a charity (ministry, church or non-ministry) in the previous year. Three in 10 (30%) say they have, and 4% are not sure. According to the latest findings of the U.S. Census Bureau, 23% of Americans volunteered through an organization between September 2020 and September 2021.

“The easiest way to serve others is when a charity or group organizes the effort,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “They recognize the need, come up with a plan and often gather needed resources. You just have to show up. Churchgoers say they want to, but less than a third showed up to help a charity in the previous year.”

Marissa Postell Sullivan

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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