Q+A :: Top Reasons for Church Attendance

QUESTION:
Q+ADo you have any statistics that show the top 5 reasons why people stay or connect with a church?
- Debbie :: California

ANSWER:
Below are highlights from 4 studies which were published within the past 5 years.

Reason Why People Attend Church
(research conducted by Gallup)

  1. 23%- for spiritual growth and guidance
  2. 20%- keeps me grounded/guided
  3. 15%- it’s my faith
  4. 15%- to worship God
  5. 13%- the fellowship of other members (the community)
  6. 12%- believe in God/religion
  7. 12%- brought up that way (tradition)

Top 13 Reasons that Unchurched People Choose a Church
(research conducted by Thom Ranier)

  1. 90% – Pastor/Preaching
  2. 88% – Doctrines
  3. 49% – Friendliness of Members
  4. 42% – Other Issues
  5. 41% – Someone at Church Witnessed to Me
  6. 38% – Family Member
  7. 37% – Sensed God’s Presence/Atmosphere of Church
  8. 25% – Relationship Other than Family Member
  9. 25% – Sunday School Class
  10. 25% – Children’s/Youth Ministry
  11. 12% – Other Groups/Ministries
  12. 11% – Worship Style/Music
  13. 7% – Location

Top 6 Things that Keep the Formerly Unchurched Active in the Church
(research conducted by Thom Ranier)

  1. 62% – Ministry Involvement
  2. 55% – Sunday School
  3. 54% – Obedience to God
  4. 49% – Fellowship of Members
  5. 38% – Pastor/Preaching
  6. 14% – Worship Services
Top 4 Reasons Given By Youth that Choose to Continue Attending Church 
(research conducted by Lifeway Reasearch)

  1. 65%- say church was a vital part of their relationship with God
  2. 58%- say they wanted the church to guide their decisions in everyday life
  3. 50%- say they felt that church was helping them become a better person
  4. 42%- were committed to the purpose and work of the church

The statistics speak for themselves. Overall, doctrine, the pastor and his preaching, and the friendliness and fellowship of the congregation are the most influential qualities.

For Discussion:
- Subjectively speaking, what do you think are the top reasons why people stay or connect with a church?

Further Reading:
Reasons Youth Leave the Church
Why People Don’t Attend Church
Book: Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them
Book: unChristian
Book: You Lost Me

This question was originally asked and answered in 2008. We’ve updated the answer for 2012.