What is the connection between community engagement and Christian faith?
Our Christians in Practice research project has been exploring this question, including through a survey of more than 1,000 churchgoers across 32 Anglican churches in the dioceses of Birmingham and Lichfield.
The Christians in Practice report shows that Christian faith is an important motivator for community engagement, but also that getting involved in such activities helps people grow in their faith:
- 78% of respondents said that involvement in community engagement activities had helped them grow as a Christian.
- 65% said that it had helped them understand their faith better.
The study also found that for many Christians, community engagement is a way of sharing their faith:
- more than two-thirds of respondents agreed that they seek to represent Christ through their actions when involved in helping others in their community.
- 49% said that they looked for opportunities to tell others about their faith when involved in helping others in their community.
Encouragingly, 71% of respondents said they had heard teaching in church which helped them connect their faith to their community involvement. When asked how their church could best support them in this, the most frequent response (44%) was ‘help me to work out what God might be calling me to do’.
As such, the research suggests that there is scope for the development of resources to support individuals and churches in thinking this through together in a very practical way, to help figure out what God is calling them to do and be in their local communities.
The research was conducted by St Peter’s Saltley Trust and Church Urban Fund, in partnership with Church of England Birmingham, the Diocese of Lichfield, Transforming Communities Together, Thrive Together Birmingham, the Church of England, and the Arthur Rank Centre. You can download the full report here.