Imagine it’s 10:00 on a warm, sunny Sunday morning. Where are you?
If you’re like 38% of American people, you’re likely to be in a church building, according to a study conducted by Barna Group (who conducts non-partisan research on “values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours.”)
That’s the number of Americans who “classify themselves as churched (very active.) [Barna.]”
Barna’s research shows a downward trend of church attendance, and Pew Research Center (PRC) seems to concur.
“Since the 1990s, large numbers of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who describe their religious identification as atheist, agnostic, or ‘nothing in particular,'” notes PRC in a 2022 report*.
Why are fewer people attending worship services?
Pew suggests that it could be because of horrifying church scandals.
Or maybe the COVID19 pandemic may be to blame. After all, some church buildings closed their doors for over a year. It may be harder for families to get back into the swing of waking earlier on Sunday mornings to wrestle the kids out the door. Maybe it’s just easier to sleep in.
PR says that in 202, “64% of Americans, including children, identify as Christians.” But if the downward trends continue, highly active membership could drop to 35% by 2070.
Written by: Stephanie Robertson
* Barna classifies unchurched as people who haven’t attended worship services in the past 6 months, not including weddings or funerals.
Dechurched are formerly active to different degrees who haven’t attended worship services in the past 6 months, not including weddings or funerals, according to Barna.
Barna’s article does not imply that these two groups have left the Christian faith.