Here's What Americans Look For When Choosing a New Church

By Theyenine – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Pew Research Center has determined a number of factors that contribute to how people choose their church.

If you are really worried about the number of members in your congregation then you may have to get your pastor to preach more effectively and in an interesting tone. New research by Pew has revealed that nearly half of America's religious may have looked for a new denomination to join; the most common influence over their decision being the quality of preaching.

This research, which analyzed the responses of major Christian denominations as well non-Christian faiths, has revealed that 49 percent have considered changing their houses of worship during at least one point in their lives. While the most common reason for this change is relocation, the most influential factor in helping them decide which their new church will be is the quality of preaching. Nearly 8 out of 10 respondents have said that the quality of preaching has been instrumental in helping them make their decision. 

The next most common causes that have influenced changes in churches are the way in which the newcomers feel welcomed by congregation at 79 percent, the style of services at 74 percent and location at 70 percent. Other responses include education of kids, having relatives in other congregations and availability of volunteering options. Other various factors make up 29 percent of the responses.

Searching for a new congregation is very straightforward for Catholics. As the Catholic Church is a highly institutional organization, structured on geographical locations, finding a new church is as simple as locating the Catholic Church in the area that they are relocating to. For Catholics, it is obligatory to give first preference to attending services at the local parish church due to the denomination's highly centralized way of functioning.

Non-denominational, evangelical and other churches that function independently have members choosing their churches for a variety of reasons rather than just relocation. It is these communities that look at the quality of sermons as an important decisive factor.

As for church attendance, nearly half of the Americans are currently regular churchgoers. A quarter of the respondents say that they are now more regular to services than they were before.

The most common way in which those who changed their churches made their decision is by attending the services at the church they were considering (85 percent). This is followed by decisions made on discussion with members of those churches (around 68 percent – 69 percent). Other methods include talking to the clergy, looking for information online (more common among youth and younger adults) and telephone calls.


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