church changing

did you see the usa today article about trends in changing churches? it’s specifically about a lifeway (sbc) survey of church changing. reveals some hard data for stuff most of us in church ministry have observed for years. like: people have a very low denominational affinity when changing churches these days (compared to the past), and, consumerism seems to be playing a huge roll in all of this (which has good and bad and neutral aspects to it, but is certainly something we need to be aware of and thoughtful about).

here’s a sidebar:

Why they left their old church

• Disenchanted with the pastor or church: 51%
• It wasn’t fulfilling their needs or the reasons they attended: 44%
• Something changed about the church: 33%
• Felt out of place at church: 31%
• Could not agree with church teachings or positions on issues: 27%

Why they chose a new church

• Beliefs or doctrines of the church: 89%
• Authenticity of church members/pastor: 88%
• Quality of the preaching: 87%
• Prefer the worship style: 80%
• Found more evidence of God’s work/changed lives: 76%
• New church cares for the community: 76%

3 thoughts on “church changing”

  1. I honestly don’t like the consumerism aspect of many church seekers today. I’m not talking about people who have never really been to church before, but people who have been Christians their entire lives. They want everything served to them and done for them and catered specifically to them.

    We had a family recently leave our church because we only had 3 programs a week for our children’s ministry, they wanted a church that had something for their children every night of the week and we just dont have nearly enough staff and volunteers for something like that. But this was a couple that wouldn’t even lift a finger to help make the children’s ministry a better place, they just watned a place to drop their kids off and forget about them. And I hear stories like that all over the place.

    To me, “Christian consumerism” just translates into “What can the church do for me?” instead of “What can I do for my church?”

    Maybe its just me and maybe I’m just too misguided here, but it just doesn’t sit well with me.

  2. Um, I can tell that this survey was totally rigged. If you see the categories, it seems pretty obvious that the answers are common sense. I equate this % quiz to asking a large audience if they want a brand new car and I have the keys to it in my hand. Of course! 80% people will raise their hand and step over (literally..) the rest of the audience to get to the keys I’m holding in my hand.

    A much more objective quiz would be pointed further towards the person attending the church before asking them what they liked or disliked about church. Perhaps ask: “What is more important: the church offer what I need spiritually, or the church offer ways the church members to participate?” At least then, you would see the heart of those taking the quiz rather than simply asking obvious questions and getting obvious answers.

  3. I’m very surprised that Youth Ministry, Children’s ministry, and Christian Education all three are missing from that list. Were these answers fill in the blank, or choose A, B, C, D, E?

    Barna had a similar survey from a few years ago (maybe 6-7) broken down by Evangelical churches and Mainline churches. Though the top reason was different for the two sides, the second item was Youth/Children’s ministry in both. I’m going from memory, but I think #1 for Evangelical was Preaching and #1 for Mainline was church relationships.

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