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If you attend religious services, you’re more likely to donate money to a charity, volunteer time for an organization and even simply help a stranger, according to a new study released by Gallup in September.

And we’re not just talking Christians here. The unprecedented survey, based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with more than 240,000 adults in 145 countries, confirmed these findings to be true among all major world religions.

Even those individuals who did not affiliate with any religious group, but who sometimes attended religious services, displayed more generous behaviors than those who held to religious views but did not attend services.

In almost 90 percent of the nations included in the study, there was “a statistically significant positive relationship between attendance and donations,” the report noted. The largest gap between service attendees and non-attendees, however, was in the area of volunteering time—18 percent of non-attendees volunteered, compared to 26 percent of service attendees.

“It has long been known that in the United States, religious attendance is associated with higher rates of volunteering and monetary donations, but the global data suggest the relationship exists in almost all countries,” the report stated, also noting that “the association between generosity and attendance of religious services is not dependent upon characteristics of a particular country, such as wealth or development.”

To read the full report, log on to

By: Bill Shepson, a Foursquare credentialed minister and freelance writer in Los Angeles

is a credentialed minister and freelance editor living in Sacramento, Calif.