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.
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 churches annually–that’s 150,000 each week! Thom Rainer/Sam Rainer –Outreach Magazine
- The study revealed that 63 percent of Americans are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member, and 56 percent are willing to receive it from friend or neighbor.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
- A majority (66 percent) of Americans are unwilling to receive information through an e-mail message, and 70 percent say e-mail would be ineffective in getting them to visit.
- “Americans wanting to find out more about God look to the Bible first (33 percent) but are willing to engage Christian friends and family members as well to discover more about God.” – Philip Nation
Ask yourself this question: why don’t I invite more people to church?
Here’s a hilarious video that addresses the issue of inviting our neighbors. It’ll make you giggle. I think giggling makes us less afraid.
So, do you see yourself or others in this video? I’d love to share the chuckle with you!
Take a step of faith this week and invite someone to church!
Tweet this: Why don’t we invite more people to church?
Great post and good data! Relationships relationships relationships. The more communication we have available to us, the less we actually communicate.
Isn’t it sad, Tom? And people don’t have time for relationships, either. Which is why, I think, the church isn’t doing as well as it should.
This is a sad truth, and one my own church has been hitting hard lately. I think most of us don’t invite others is because we’re afraid of what we’ll look like doing it.
J’nell, I know what you mean. I feel like people immediately tune me out when I talk about church or invite them to church or ask where they go to church. But I’m going to keep trying. I know God will help me!
This is so convicting, Karla. Thanks for sharing (I’ll be sharing on FB for sure!) Love your blog. God Bless you and your family in your ministry.
Aw, thanks, Nancy! I appreciate your reading and support. It means so much to me!
My husband is the one who usually asks, but I’m the one who is shy and afraid of conflict. However, watching the video I guess I shouldn’t be. Thanks for sharing, Karla.
I’m afraid of conflict, eye rolls, rejection, too. But I just keep reminding myself that Jesus is coming soon, and that a life with Jesus on earth is a much better life than a life without Him! Compassion for others is what compels me. And I’m finding that the more I do it, the easier it gets. I haven’t gotten a “yes” yet, but I believe I’m planting seeds. And one day, there will be a yes!
Wow. Those statistics are sobering and convicting.
Thanks for reading, Patty!
Our church retreat was this last weekend and our speaker (a former pastor of mine) said after decades of living next door to a declared athiest, she invited him and his wife to her church. They were moving away, and she’d always intended to (this is a pastor I’m talking about here). And she said even though they didn’t go, they told her how genuinely moved by the invitation they were.
For me, full disclosure here, I’m not scared of inviting, I’m scared they’ll come. I am an introvert and apparently getting more so as I age. I’d love for new folks to come, but I don’t want to do the relational work to keep them there, I don’t want to have to take my sabbath day to nurture new relationships. It is a wholly selfish and really awful reaction to have to the idea of inviting someone to my church, but sadly, that is what my gut reaction is.
And that stinks. It does. Really bad.
I’m not sure *that’s* the conviction others were talking about but it’s the one I have. It’s one I’ll be working on, because I don’t like being stinky. And stinkiness is not welcoming to guests.
Maybe it’s too late in the evening to be posting. Hopefully that made sense.