From the Mouths of the “Unchurched”

Last week in this bulletin article we started considering how we might grow in numbers. We noted that we must start we “going”, the original command of the Lord and the proven best way. If we want to grow, we have to “go”.

But beyond “going”, what else might we find out about how to reach the lost? Well, it might be helpful to know what they say they’re looking for, what helps them to connect, and what might keep them connected and active. Fortunately, there are a number of polling organizations that have asked such questions recently. I think you’ll find the results interesting.

The top reasons why people attend church
(research conducted by Gallup)

  1. 23%- for spiritual growth and guidance
  2. 20%- keeps me grounded/guided
  3. 15%- it’s my faith
  4. 15%- to worship God
  5. 13%- the fellowship of other members (the community)
  6. 12%- believe in God/religion
  7. 12%- brought up that way (tradition)

The top 13 reasons why unchurched people chose a church
(Research conducted by Thom Ranier)

1. 90% – Pastor/Preaching
2. 88% – Doctrines
3. 49% – Friendliness of Members
4. 42% – Other Issues
5. 41% – Someone at Church Witnessed to Me
6. 38% – Family Member
7. 37% – Sensed God’s Presence/Atmosphere of Church
8. 25% – Relationship Other than Family Member
9. 25% – Sunday School Class
10. 25% – Children’s/Youth Ministry
11. 12% – Other Groups/Ministries
12. 11% – Worship Style/Music
13. 7% – Location

Top 6 Things that Keep the Formerly Unchurched Active in the Church (research conducted by Thom Ranier)

  1. 62% – Ministry Involvement
  2. 55% – Sunday School
  3. 54% – Obedience to God
  4. 49% – Fellowship of Members
  5.  38% – Pastor/Preaching
  6.  14% – Worship Services

Top 4 Reasons Given By Youth that Choose to Continue Attending Church
(research conducted by Lifeway Reasearch)

  1. 65%- say church was a vital part of their relationship with God
  2. 58%- say they wanted the church to guide their decisions in everyday life
  3. 50%- say they felt that church was helping them become a better person
  4. 42%- were committed to the purpose and work of the church

The statistics speak for themselves. Overall, doctrine, the minister and his preaching, and the active fellowship of the congregation are the most influential qualities. We shouldn’t be amazed; they are the very things that the New Testament writers and Jesus Himself said would be important to emphasize. People, lost and saved, young or old, will always be interested in solid, decisive Bible preaching (2 Tim. 4:1ff) and a warm, active fellowship (John 13:35)!

So, let’s emphasize these things to others, when we share the good news or invite them to come; they are the very things which many of them will be looking for.

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
This entry was posted in Bible commentary, Christian Leadership, Christianity, Church Growth, New Testament and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to From the Mouths of the “Unchurched”

  1. Tim Wilson says:

    Isn’t it incredible that 90% would say the Pastor/Preaching is important? So many people believe if we get the music right or the ambience right. But preaching is still the main means people say. Interesting stats!

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