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Current Page: Church & Ministries | Monday, June 10, 2019
Christian service not automatic for Christians, LifeWay finds

Christian service not automatic for Christians, LifeWay finds

Volunteers at the Open Door Mission in Houston, Texas, a charity helping addicted, homeless and disabled men, working as part of the "Bless Friday" observance held on Nov. 24, 2017. | Chuck Fox

Many Christians admit to having difficulty in serving others despite being called to do so in the Bible, according to a new report by LifeWay Research.

For their 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study, the Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay found that less than half of Protestant churchgoers surveyed said they intentionally give up certain purchases so they can use that money to help others.

According to LifeWay, 41 percent of respondents reported agreeing to give up certain purchases so they could use the money for other people. Thirty-two percent were neutral and 27 percent disagreed.

LifeWay noted that younger churchgoers were more likely to "strongly agree" to intentionally give up purchases, with 22 percent of churchgoers aged 18-34 saying they “strongly agree,” versus 18 percent for those aged 35-49, 12 percent of those aged 50-64, and 8 percent of those aged 65 and above.

Broken down racially, Hispanics were the most likely to “strongly agree” at 25 percent, versus 17 percent for African-Americans and 12 percent for Caucasians.

LifeWay also found that 62 percent of respondents agreed to intentionally trying to serve people outside of their church who have tangible needs, with 25 percent responding that they “strongly agree.”

Again, Hispanics were the group most likely to “strongly agree” at 38 percent, with African-Americans at 29 percent and Caucasians at 21 percent.

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement released last week that the report shows that many Protestants are not following Jesus’ call to service, as seen in Bible verses like Matthew 23:11.

“Many churchgoers profess faith in Jesus Christ, but are not putting that faith into action,” stated McConnell. “Jesus set an example for His followers through both the beliefs He taught and the way He served others.”

For its research, LifeWay drew upon an online survey of 2,500 Protestant churchgoers conducted Jan. 14-29, with a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Last month, a study commissioned by the marketing and fundraising firm Dunham+Company found that 71 percent of evangelicals reported giving to charitable organizations annually.

Regarding charitable giving, Dunham+Company found that “boomers and matures” (78 percent) were the generational groups most likely to report giving to charities on an annual basis, versus millennial evangelicals at 68 percent and Generation X evangelicals at 63 percent.

“Millennials are often believed to be disengaged in their faith, but this study shows that those Millennials who identify as evangelicals are more engaged in their faith than other generations,” said Dunham+Company founder Rick Dunham in a statement last month.

“This mirrors our study from 2017 which showed that Millennials generally are as likely to engage in religious attendance compared to other generations, with this current study showing a much higher engagement among those who identify as Evangelicals.”   

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