C is for Church

As you may already know, Church is a huge part of my life as a pastor’s wife and associate minister. (Yes, I’m an ordained minister. I don’t crow about it much because I enjoy my role as a pastor’s wife and more people identify with it.) There are a lot of people missing out on church these days and guess whose fault it is? Those who go to church. Yup. Here are some statistics to chew on regarding church attendance from Thom Ranier’s book, The Unchurched Next Door and other sources: “Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.” “Only two percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Ninety-eighty percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.” “A study including more than 15,000 adults revealed that about two-thirds are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member and 56 percent from a friend or neighbor. The message is clear that the unchurched are open to conversations about church.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research “Four percent of formerly churched adults are actively looking for a church to attend regularly (other than their previous church). Six percent would prefer to resume attending regularly in the same church they had attended. The largest group, 62 percent, is not actively looking but is open to the idea of attending church regularly again.”–Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research “Clearly we can encourage Christians to pray that the unchurched would sense God calling them back, but God works through His people.” “The survey showed that many would respond to an invitation from a friend or acquaintance (41 percent), their children (25 percent) or an adult family member (25 percent).” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research The issue of affinity also surfaced in the responses. Thirty–five percent indicated that they would be inspired to attend church ‘if I knew there were people like me there.’” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research “Much to the surprise of the ‘Chicken Little’ crowd, people are still going to church. And more people would attend if given one simple thing—an invitation.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research Most people come to church because of a personal invitation. 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives. The top “rational” reason adults seldom or never attend church is they don’t agree with organized religion or what they preach (24 percent). “Perhaps one of the most underestimated reasons people return to the church is that someone simply invited them back.” The U.S. Church is in a general state of decline, with fewer than 20 percent regularly attending church. This suggests that 7.9 million people may be leaving...

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