‘To Whom Much Has Been Given...’: Religious Capital and Community Voluntarism Among Churchgoing Protestants



Research on volunteering behavior has consistently found a positive relationship between religion and volunteering. Using a sample of churchgoing Protestants (N=1,738)from the Religious Identity and Influence Survey we examine the specific influences of religiosity, religious identity, religious socialization, and religious social networks on local volunteer activity in church programs and non-church organizations, as well as general volunteering tendencies. These influences are presented within the theoretical framework of religious capital. Logistic regression techniques were applied to determine the strength of the contribution of these influences while accounting for basic background factors. Findings suggest that churchgoing Protestants are influenced by all measures to some degree, but religiosity (specifically participation in church activities) remains the strongest influence. Significant religious influences overall are most pronounced within the context of church-related volunteering which suggests that churchgoing Protestants exhibit a strong sense of community identity through their local churches. A discussion of these results and their implications for volunteering follows.