Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions "Churched" and "Unchurched" Not Specific Enough

"Churched" and "Unchurched" Not Specific Enough

Ellison Research on U.S. adult attendance at worship services found the traditional definitions of churched (attend services monthly or more often) and unchurched (do not typically attend frequently enough to be considered “churched”) often do not tell a complete story. If adults are placed in more realistic categories based on their normal behavior, attendance stats at religious services would look like this: 11% attend more than once a week. 22% attend once a week. 14% attend 2-3 times a month. 5% attend once a month. 9% attend occasionally, not on a regular basis. 10% attend only on religious holidays. 29% do not attend at all. The study also found if an adult attended worship services regularly at some point before the age of 18, there is a 55% chance that person is currently attending once a month or more. If the person never attended prior to age 18, there is only a 21% chance he/she is currently attending worship services on a regular basis. When someone grows up in a home where both a mother and father occasionally attend religious services, there is a 62% chance that individual is now regularly attending services as an adult. If only one parent attends services occasionally, there is a 50% chance that grown adult is now regularly attending worship. But when an individual grows up with neither parent regularly attending worship services, the chances of that person regularly attending is only at 33%. Ron Sellers, President of Ellison Research, said, “We estimate that up to 43 million adults who do not regularly attend worship services will visit a church or place of worship at some point during the year.”

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.