By Aaron Earls
On average, 3 in 10 American Christians are highly involved in their local church, according to analysis of Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study.
To be considered as having a high level of involvement, respondents had to be members of a congregation, attend religious services at least weekly, and attend a prayer or Bible study group at least monthly.
Evangelical Protestants and historically black Protestants have more than double the number of highly involved adherents than mainline Protestantism, Orthodox Christianity, or the Catholic Church.
More than 4 in 10 evangelicals (43 percent) and black Protestants (41) are highly involved, while only 20 percent of mainline Protestants have the same level of engagement.
Among historically black Protestants, both Church of God in Christ and National Baptist Convention were at least at 50 percent.
Six of the eight groups classified as evangelical Protestant by Pew had high involvement numbers at or above 44 percent, including Assemblies of God, Church of God, and Southern Baptists.
By comparison, no mainline denomination had more than a 31 percent high involvement rate. Of all the denominations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (19 percent), Catholic Church (16 percent), and Episcopal Church (13 percent) had the fewest members who are classified as highly involved.
Mainline denominations, Orthodox Christians, and the Catholic Church also have higher numbers of individuals who are considered low involvement—those who are not members of a congregation and seldom or never attend a religious service or small group meeting.
Among Protestants, 19 percent of mainline Protestants have low involvement, compared to 6 percent of historically black Protestants and 8 percent of evangelical Protestants. As a whole, 12 percent of Christians have low involvement with their church.
The specific denominations with the highest portions of adherents with low involvement are the Anglican Church (18 percent), Episcopal Church (15 percent), Presbyterian Church in America (15 percent), and Catholics (14 percent).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.