This isn’t about why people have left the church (that’s a different subject.) This is about church attenders who love God, appreciate the local church and are even involved in the local church, but who simply attend less often. This trend isn’t going away…in fact it’s accelerating; it impacts almost every church regardless of size, denomination or even location. It probably marks a seismic shift in how the church will do ministry in the future.
So…why are even committed attenders attending less often? There are at least 10 reasons.
1. Greater Affluence
Money gives people options.
2. Higher Focus on Kids’ Activities
A growing number of kids are playing sports. And a growing number of kids are playing on teams that require travel. Many of those sports happen on weekends. And affluent parents are choosing sports over church.
3. More Travel
Despite a wobbly economy, travel is on the rise, both for business and pleasure. And when people are out of town, they tend to not be in church.
4. Blended andSingle Parent Families
Church leaders need to remember that when custody is shared in a family situation, ‘perfect’ attendance for a kid or teen might be 26 Sundays a year.
5. Online Options
Many churches have created a social media presence. There are pros and cons to online church and there’s no doubt that churches with a strong online presence have seen it impact physical attendance.
6. The Cultural Disappearance of Guilt
Back in the day people felt guilty about not being in church on a Sunday. The number of people who feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday shrinks daily.
7. Self-Directed Spirituality
People are looking less to churches and leaders to help them grow spiritually, and more to other options. The church in many people’s minds is seen as an institution.
8. Failure to See a Direct Benefit
People always make time for the things they value most. If they’re not making time for church, that tells you something.
9. Valuing Attendance over Engagement
The most engaged people—people who serve, give, invite and who are in a community group—are our most frequent attenders. The church in many people’s minds is seen as an institution.
10. A Massive Culture Shift
All of these trends witness to something deeper. Our culture is shifting Seismically.
10 Predictions about the Future Church And Shifting Attendance Patterns
My name is Carey Nieuwhof. I’m a husband, a dad to two sons and a daughter-in-law, and the founding and teaching pastor of Connexus Church north of Toronto Canada. I’m also incredibly passionate about helping leaders lead like never before. That’s why I write this blog, write books, host a leadership podcast and produce courses like the The High Impact Leader Course.