Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Research: Unchurched Will Talk about Faith, Not Interested in Going to Church

Americans who don't go to church are happy to talk about religion and often think about the meaning of life, according to a new study released today (June 28).

They're also open to taking part in community service events hosted at a church or going to a church concert, the research revealed. But only about a third say they'd be interested in going to a worship service, and few think about what happens after they die.

Those are among the findings of a new online survey of 2,000 unchurched Americans from LifeWay Research. The survey, conducted in partnership with the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., found more than half of Americans who don't go to church identify as Christians.

But they are mostly indifferent to organized religion, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

"Unchurched Americans aren't hostile to faith," he said. "They just don't think church is for them." Read More

Also See
Unchurched will talk about faith but aren't drawn to worship
Your Unchurched Friends Want to Know About Your Faith


tyhiter said...

I can easily believe it. Many of my "visitors" in my campground ministry are perfectly willing to talk on spiritual matters, but are very hard to get into Church.

Robin G. Jordan said...

This is not good news for the small church in which the Sunday worship gathering is the central activity in its life and ministry. The key to reaching and engaging this particular segment of the unchurched population may be the finding that they are willing to participate in community service events hosted at a church or to go to church concerts. This research appears to support my own conclusions based upon my contacts with students at Murray State University.

At least one church holds its Sunday worship gatherings on campus. Its worship gatherings are specifically designed to appeal to the unchurched, in particular to university students and other young adults. While this church has been successful in reaching and engaging one segment of the university’s student population, its attractional approach has not been effective with other segments of that population. The young people in these segments are not willing to give up sleeping late on Sunday morning in order to attend one of its Sunday morning worship gatherings even though the church has a “great band” and “great preachers.” They are also not willing to give up their Sunday evening activities to attend its Sunday evening worship gathering.

While some of these students display animosity towards Christians and their faith, the students in this group are a minority. For most of these students going to church holds no appeal to them. At the same time they are willing to attend special events sponsored by the church if those special events line up with their own interests. They also take an interest in community service projects. The Japanese Club, for example, raised money for disaster relief to the victims of the recent earth quake in southern Japan.

A former Baptist campus minister once told me that his campus ministry was unsuccessful in reaching and engaging the students who were interested in protecting the environment until his campus ministry took an interest in what they were interested—recycling and similar projects—and provided them with a venue in which their organization could meet.

Taking an interest in what interests them may be the best approach to building bridges with the segment of the unchurched population that is not interested in going to church. In the case of a university's student population the first step involves befriending students and learning where their interests lie.