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Teleios surveyed mid-western, Bible-believing church members to assess the impact of community service on personal wellbeing.1

WHAT WE DID

  • We asked about adherence to the Christian faith, Scriptural knowledge and benefit from service
  • Survey questions were classified as follows:

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WHAT IT SHOWED

Participants

  • 309 subjects participated.
  • For all participants wellbeing was generally good with the best scores noted for questions:
    • I have good mental health
    • I feel accepted by my community

Effect of Service on Wellbeing

  • People who served in some capacity in or outside church demonstrated better wellbeing scores than those who did not (P=0.02), including (scale: low 0-6 high):
    • Contentment
    • Peace
    • Joy
    • Purpose
    • Community acceptance

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Perceived Benefit of Service

  • When asked about the benefits of service, the greatest perceived benefit was related to ‘enhancing wellbeing of others’ (column 1), but all four questions had high scores (scale: low 0-6 high)!

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More service gives more wellbeing

  • A greater number of hours served per week increased the benefit of service up to 6 hours (P=0.0012, scale: low 0-6 high).

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WHAT IT MEANS

Those who routinely participate in community or church-based service have better wellbeing, as shown by greater:

  • Contentment
  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Purpose
  • Community acceptance

Wow! Who wouldn’t want that?

People who serve:

  • Have better overall wellbeing
  • Derive a benefit from service with as little as just 1 hour/week
  • Find the benefit is even greater serving up to 6 hours/week
  • Obtain a benefit independent of the type of service (church vs. non-church sponsored community service)

Why does service help wellbeing? We don’t know for certain, but there are several potentials:

  • Serving others provides a sense of purpose
  • Serving tells us our lives are useful
  • When we serve we are being obedient to God
  • Serving focuses us on others instead of ourselves

Summary: serving others helps our wellbeing!

1. MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-582.

For a copy of this infographic for your own use please click here.