24 November 2010
Evangelical Christians at forefront of volunteering
Evangelical Christians are already trailblazing Prime Minister David Cameron's vision of a Big Society that promotes people volunteering in their local communities.
That's the story from the Evangelical Alliance, one of the UK's largest organisations representing evangelical Christians. Now the Alliance has every reason to bang the drum as results from a new national survey supports this claim. The findings give the most comprehensive snapshot yet seen of the habits, opinions and beliefs of evangelical Christians in the UK.
The study shows that the congregations of Evangelical Alliance member churches are already giving half a million unpaid hours every week to their local communities. This means that supposing they were paid the minimum wage of £5.93 an hour, our member churches, in terms of volunteer hours, are contributing £3m to the national economy each week.
Steve Clifford, General Director for the Alliance, says: 'Far from being a beleaguered minority group, the results show that evangelicals are making a difference and we would be sorely missed if we weren't getting on with our voluntary work. On that note we should be able to approach decision makers and funding providers with greater confidence."
Of the 17,000 people surveyed earlier this year, nine out of 10 evangelicals agree that it's their Christian duty to be involved in social action. Another seven out of 10 believe that, to some extent, Christians should work with people of other faiths on community projects.
The survey reveals that, amongst evangelical Christians, it's women over the age of 55 are more likely to give unpaid time to community work whereas men aged 35-54 are least likely to volunteer. Six out of ten evangelical respondents said they had given at least 10 per cent of their household income to their church and/or charity in the past month. And the older you are the more likely you are to donate 10 percent of your household income on a monthly basis.
The audit was carried out by the Evangelical Alliance with Christian Research at major Christian festivals in the spring and summer of 2010 and at 35 randomly selected member churches. The study covers a wide range of topics from praying and Bible reading to beliefs concerning hell, evolution and assisted suicide. The initial report will be freely available to the public online at www.eauk.org on January 11, 2011.
Meanwhile church leaders have welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron's Big Society vision of increased voluntary work and greater community activism in the wake of government spending cuts. But they have warned that the drive to promote volunteering must not be used as a camouflage for cutting help to the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society.
Tel: 07766 444 650
Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.