According to the Barna Group, U.S. adults are almost evenly divided on whether church is at least somewhat important or is not important at all. While half (49%) say it is “somewhat” or “very” important, the other 51% say it is “not too” or “not at all” important. And only two in ten young adults asked said that church attendance was important. When young adults were asked why church was not important, a third said the church was “irrelevant,” a third said the church was “hypocritical” and the last third cited the “moral failure of church leadership.” Additionally, two out of ten young adults said “God was missing from church.”
Forty-two percent of American adults who do attend church on a regular basis say they do so to get closer to God. Forty percent of adults said they find God elsewhere, and thirty-five percent said the church was not personally relevant to them.
“Overall church attendance has dipped from 43 percent in 2004 to 36 percent today,” said a recent Barna Group report. “But beyond a dip in attendance numbers, the nature of churchgoing is changing. Regular attenders used to be people who went to church three or more weekends each month—or even several times a week. Now people who show up once every four to six weeks consider themselves regular churchgoers. Many pastors and church leaders are accounting for sporadic attendance in their ministry planning.”