Monday, April 30, 2007

Church Attendance among Evangelical Christians


One of the values in Christianity is having people fully engage their faith through the local church. Bringing people into the church is termed evangelism, bringing Christians more into their faith is termed discipleship. Reaching out to more nominal Christians fits somewhere between evangelism and discipleship, and so it's worth asking who, among Christians, is most likely to be nominal.

To answer this, I look at how many Evangelical Christians attend a church service on at least a weekly basis (as opposed to attending less often or not at all). I also stratify by age and gender. Here are the data, from the General Social Survey--1995-2004. I analyzed those respondents who identified themselves as attending evangelical churches. Then, I broke them up into six groups by age and gender. Finally, I computed how many of the respondents in each age-gender group attended church at least once a week.
As shown, there is a lot of disparity by both age and gender. Whereas over half (56%) of evangelical women over age 50 frequently attend church, only about one-third (34%) of the young men do. What are the implications of these findings?
* Churches might want to focus outreach efforts to the young and males.
* With age, people attend church more frequently, but this is more true for women, who go from 41% to 56% than men, who go from 34% to 44%.

What else?

6 comments:

Ben Dubow said...

Very interesting data Brad. It agrees with a lot of what I have been reading both about the younger generations (generally more post-modern and not as committed to church) an in terms of men and women.

The age issue seems easy to understand, explain, and remedy. The gender one is more complicated and harder to solve.

I'd love to hear any suggestions people ma have...

S.S.Stone said...

question ?
are we talking about more women attending church on Sundays? We have daily mass in which a good 75% are women, but on Sunday, it balances out a bit better.
If we're talking about daily attendance then perhaps it's due to the fact more women may be home...then there is the Marian movement that is happening up here (canada) and growing in numbers...women in the Catholic church have been supressed far to long and now they're 'coming out' and with such power,determination and it's wonderful to see.

We're experiencing the same statistical numbers and trying to find ways of improving attendance. We've had many "VISION" brainstorming workshops to try to address this area.
Outcome: To encourage young males, Father established a "BREAKFAST CLUB"...it went over very well..he would invite different guest speakers (sports, young prayerful men)...the "guys" liked it because it was for them!ONLY them!

When our church started the "all inclusive" aspect of altar servers, many of the young boys left and now we have mostly, if not all , altar girls...

i could go on and on about this subject but i'd take up too much of your post territory...I've always argued that we as Catholics have so much to learn from our Pentecostal brothers..i'll save that for another time...your posts are great.......I LOVE YOUR TOPICS!!!

Brad Wright said...

Good question Sarah. It's a measure of attending any church service at least once a week... Sunday or not.

It sounds like your church is doing some fascinating things. Wonderful.

Jay Livingston said...

What are the N's? With only evangelicals in the sample, divided into six categories, aren't the numbers in the cells getting small?

S.S.Stone said...

Brad, yes, we're working hard at it...seems most churches today are facing challenges. I had the privilege of attending a non denominational funeral service today and it was AWESOME!People, in particular we Catholics have to be open to new types of worship. we're living in different times and what maybe worked in the past just doesn't cut it now- my friends brother that died has an uncle who is a priest( from the old school ) He would not step into this worship hall..why? because we as Catholics are "not in communion" with the people of that church...i'm having a difficult time with this one..The service was soo beautiful and alive.- the pastor was amazing,not over the top - real and genuine...you could feel the warmth.

Heres a blurp from todays service:

Bob dies and goes to heaven- he meets the angel at the door and he tells bob to go to room 19 but to be quiet when he goes past room 8

next Bill dies, goes to the angel at the door , he says, ok you go to room 20 but make sure you don't make any noise when you pass room 8.

Mary dies and meets the angel at the door and is told to go to room 21 and not to make any noise when she goes past room 8.

Since women seem to be more curious than men lol...Mary asks...WHY do i have to be quiet when i go past room 8???

Because that's the room the Catholics are in and they think they're the only ones here!

anyone who reads this,please know it's just a little chuckle without malice..k*smile*

enjoy your day!

Brad Wright said...

I really like that joke, Sarah... it has a gentle, sly humor to it.

Good question Jay about the sample size. I went back a few extra waves to bump up the sample size, and the age-gender groups have between 200 and 800 respondents.