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Stats on the background of Church attendees

9 July, 2003 11:26 AM

This is an extract from a great essay on the state of the church in the West that I had emailed to me last year written by a guy named Kevin Ward from NZ. He writes:

"I decided to research the backgrounds of those now attending my church. The results were even more marked than I had imagined. What it showed was that 87.7% of those attending the church had been attending another church as adults before they came to this church. Of the remaining 12.3% who had not attended elsewhere as an adult, 5.2% had gone to Sunday school or youth group at the church, 3.1% to Sunday school or youth group elsewhere, and only 3.9% came from a genuinely nonchurched background. Interestingly the largest group of attenders at this church, 33%, came to it from mainline Protestant churches. I then wanted to find out if this pattern was true of other churches that had experienced growth over this period. I researched 3 other churches that had grown significantly. A charismatic Anglican church, evangelical Presbyterian church, and Pentecostal church. The results were similar with in all cases at least 75% having come from other churches and only between 2.7% and 4.0% having a nonchurched background. Interestingly with the Pentecostal church the pattern was similar to the Baptist church in that the largest single group were those from mainline Protestant churches, in this case 38%. In terms of the percentage from a nonchurched background there was no difference between the Pentecostal and mainline churches.

Since doing this research I have found the pattern is very similar in other western countries. Sally Morgenthaler in the US asks "How do we explain the growth of the megachurch? Simple: musical chairs - church hopping growth. And it represents more than 80% of the people who have come in our doors in the past decade.. The megachurch's feeder system is the smaller church, and disgruntled believers who have quit their churches." In Canada additional research by Don Posterski and Irwin Baker has found that 5.5% of church attenders come from an unchurched background, and that there is no difference between mainline and conservative churches. Finally in Australia the NCLS research has found that 7% of church attenders are newcomers, of which 4% are returnees to church life after a period of time away, and only 3% are actually involved in attending church for the first time. "

I have a copy of the full article if anyone would like it.

Comments

Page:

Wonder how "unchurched" correlates with "unsaved"... or, more to the point, wonder how many of those who claimed to have "church backgrounds" somewhere in their past are saved?

It is important to get the unchurched into church, but it's a matter of life and death to get the unsaved saved. Church is one way to do that.

Eric » 9 July, 2003 12:11 PM

Stopped by for a visit.

CitizenCOPS of America » 20 October, 2003 7:14 AM

Where did you get this info??

Great stuff, though. Well done.

Oops, shalamandai.

David » 5 November, 2004 10:28 AM

Where did you get this info??

Great stuff, though. Well done.

Oops, shalamandai.

David » 5 November, 2004 10:28 AM

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