Home Voices Church Attendance During Christmastime: Stats on Christmas Outreach

Church Attendance During Christmastime: Stats on Christmas Outreach

Christmas Outreach

Most Americans attend church during the Christmas season, and many would come if invited.

Just how important is church attendance for Americans during the Christmas season? Is this really an important season to reach out to the unchurched? A few years ago, Lifeway Research conducted a study to learn more about church attendance patterns during Christmastime. Historically, pastors and church leaders know that Christmastime attracts more visitors than perhaps any other time of the year, outside of perhaps the Lenten and Easter season. 

Carol Pipes, editor of Facts & Trends, wrote the story for Lifeway Research:

In a recent poll of 1,000 Americans, Lifeway Research found six out of 10 Americans typically attend church at Christmastime.

But among those who don’t attend church at Christmastime, a majority (57 percent) say they would likely attend if someone they knew invited them.

“Regular churchgoers may assume the rest of America has already made up their mind not to attend church,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research. “In reality, many would welcome going to a Christmas service with someone they know.”

Americans living in the South (66 percent) and Midwest (64 percent) are more likely to attend church at Christmastime than those in the Northeast (57 percent) and West (53 percent). And throughout the U.S., more women than men are likely to attend Christmas church services (66 percent vs. 56 percent).

Those who attend church most frequently throughout the year (once a week or more) are the most likely (91 percent) to say they will attend church at Christmastime.

Younger Americans are less likely to participate in a service or Christmas mass than their elders. Fifty-three percent of those 18 to 24 say they attend church at Christmas, compared to 68 percent of those 65 and older and 67 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds.

You can see some festive graphics to depict some of the more fascinating data points below.

While Christians in America are not facing persecution, it is fair to say the Christian faith has fallen out of favor with American popular culture. As the nation gets more pluralistic and spiritually diverse, Christianity is losing the “privileged position” it once held in American culture.

However, that’s not stopping Americans from going to church at Christmastime:

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the study, for me, was seeing why people go to church during Christmastime. The answers we received are diverse, but the predominant answer was an encouraging one:

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.