44% I prefer to worship on my own
36% I don’t like organized religion
22% I haven’t found a church that I like
19% I don’t have the time
16% I don’t like being asked for money when I attend
9% I don’t feel welcome when I do attend
(Christianity Today, May 2018, 18)
We as a Church struggle with the issues addressed in these responses and must seek ways to reverse the trend of diminishing worship attendance, perhaps through more personalized ministries, less of an emphasis on governance, offering alternative worship times, softening calls to action in fundraising campaigns, and making worship environments warm and inviting.
But, in my estimation, a better question for a Gallup survey should be: Why do you attend church?
The answers for me are:
I enjoy worshiping with fellow believers
I am spiritually uplifted by the music
I am inspired in my faith through the words of Scripture and the sermon
I am energized to go out and live my life as a follower of Christ in the week ahead
I am comforted and encouraged by those I see there
What are your reasons for attending church? Maybe if we as a Church think more about why people are attending church than about why they aren’t, then we will be well on our way to fostering growth.
May this verse keep us moving forward in this endeavor: “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).