The Burge Report: Who Is Attending Church MORE Frequently Now Than in the Past?

Episode #BR001
March 15, 2024
Rainer on Leadership Podcast Logo

America is not yet a godless nation, but we are becoming a less churched nation. While people say they believe in God, fewer are attending a house of worship. Ryan Burge joins the show with Thom and Sam to discuss the data driving these trends. But not all the trends are negative. In fact, one group is seeing more people attend church now than in the past: conservative evangelicals.

    • The number of those who never attend church has doubled in the last 15 years, reaching 85 million. Almost every state in the U.S. has experienced a dip in overall church attendance, most between 5% and 10% declines.
    • Every generation is experiencing a decline in church attendance, as has every race in America.
    • Politically, church attendance has declined more rapidly among Republicans than Democrats, though both are down.
    • Evangelicals today are more likely to attend religious services weekly compared to evangelicals in the 1970s. About 42% were weekly attenders in 1972. In 2021, that share had risen 55%.
    • Why might this be the case? Consider the theory of institutional strictness.
    • What does this mean for churches? If you set high expectations and reach the next generation, you are more likely to have better attendance frequency.
    • How can you buck the trends? Outward focus, high hospitality, strong retention strategies, and a focus on younger families.


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