According to Barna, only 35% of Americans attend church weekly. This is further supported by a statistic from The Malphurs Group, that states 84% of churches are declining or plateauing.
In the article Christian America is in Decline, authors, Anthony B. Pinn and Tom Krattenmaker explain,
"One reason so many are opting out of religion, or never opting in to begin with, is that churches are addressing the wrong questions."
In short, members leave because they feel their church doesn't provide enough spiritual engagement. Some want more opportunities to serve, while others look for ways to solve frustrations or doubts. Many even feel church is irrelevant, and list the struggle to connect as the primary reason they leave--or never get involved at all.
In this blog, you'll be encouraged to rethink the decline in church attendance. Then learn about data and how you can use it to reach your communities and retain congregants. Let's dive in.
Churches that Adopt New Ways to Connect are Thriving
Not all churches are declining. Some churches are thriving as they discover new ways to meet the spiritual and communal needs of those in their congregations and communities. One of the newest ways churches can determine these needs is with data.
Carl Kuhl of Outreach Magazine explains, "The typical church is not good at tracking data. We keep track of how big the offering is. We keep good track of attendance. But we honestly don't use data well."
It's understandable why many church leaders are skeptical about data. Measuring success in a spiritual environment can be tricky--especially when you're working with various demographics and opinions. "However," Khul shares, "what has happened is we have gone so far into the 'numbers don't matter' realm that we don't have enough helpful data." This proves a need for a healthy balance and understanding of data usage in churches.
Patricia of Smart Church Management writes in her article, 7 Keys to Church Growth, "Church members are one of the key customer groups in a church. Understanding their unique needs and ensuring their needs are met--within the scope of the vision--is critical to church growth."