Practicing Christians "outpace all U.S. adults in poverty action," according to Barna Group data released on April 26.
In every category surveyed for its "The Good News about Global Poverty" report, Barna found that Christians "who consider their faith important and attend church regularly" were significantly more likely to be involved in work to end poverty.
Three quarters (75 percent) of practicing Christians said they had provided food to an impoverished person or family, compared to 58 percent of all U.S. adults, while 72 percent had directly donated resources (clothing, furniture or other nonmonetary items) to people in need, compared to 64 percent of all U.S. adults.
The other categories surveyed all followed this pattern:
- Praying for poor people: 62 percent of practicing Christians to 33 percent of U.S. adults.
- Volunteering time to serve needy people who live in their community: 47 percent to 29 percent.
- Volunteering for an organization specifically to help the poor in the U.S.: 39 percent to 24 percent.
- Volunteering for an organization specifically to help the poor in other countries: 24 percent to 13 percent.
- Traveling outside the U.S. to serve the poor or disadvantaged: 10 percent to 6 percent.
"Practicing Christians are the most engaged segment of the population when it comes to fighting poverty," said Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group. "Local churches are already doing many things right in discipling Christians toward compassion for the poor. But there is more to do: Fighting poverty - both material and spiritual - will always be the mission of the church."
The full report is available here.