Church Attendance

Survey on Church Attendance

 The survey was conducted through the Resonate Christian panel during the week ending 19th August 2016.

 The survey was completed by 1296 respondents 

 

Church Attendance & Bible Reading

How frequently do you attend church?

 

The ordained as would be expected attend at least once a week and 49% attend several times a week with 22% attending daily

 

Which days of the week do you typically go to Church?

 

The trend for Wednesday to be the most likely second day to attend church, followed by Thursday and then Tuesday is consistent across all demographics.


 

Generally consistent across demographics, it is higher for the ordained, although even there only 81% claim to read it every day with 4% reading it less than once a week (possibly the retired).


Comparison of Church Attendance and Bible reading

 

Outside of church services, how often do you read the Bible?

 

 The first section looks at what you do at present. 

TOTAL
Daily/
almost daily
A few times
a week
About once 
a week
A few times
a month
About once 
a month
A few times 
a year
Christmas
 and /or 
Easter
About 
once a year
Never

TOTAL

1293

118

548

546

38

15

17

1

4

6

100%

9%

42%

42%

3%

1%

1%

0%

0%

0%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

More or less every day

893

96

439

325

18

5

7

0

1

2

100%

11%

49%

36%

2%

1%

1%

0%

0%

0%

69%

81%

80%

60%

47%

33%

41%

0%

25%

33%

At least once a week

240

19

85

122

8

1

2

0

2

1

100%

8%

35%

51%

3%

0%

1%

0%

1%

0%

19%

16%

16%

22%

21%

7%

12%

0%

50%

17%

At least once a month

86

1

14

59

6

3

2

0

0

1

100%

1%

16%

69%

7%

3%

2%

0%

0%

1%

7%

1%

3%

11%

16%

20%

12%

0%

0%

17%

A few times a year

54

2

9

31

3

3

5

1

0

0

100%

4%

17%

57%

6%

6%

9%

2%

0%

0%

4%

2%

2%

6%

8%

20%

29%

100%

0%

0%

About once a year

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

100%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

Hardly ever - less than once a year

14

0

1

6

2

2

1

0

1

1

100%

0%

7%

43%

14%

14%

7%

0%

7%

7%

1%

0%

0%

1%

5%

13%

6%

0%

25%

17%

I've never read the Bible outside church

6

0

0

3

1

1

0

0

0

1

100%

0%

0%

50%

17%

17%

0%

0%

0%

17%

0%

0%

0%

1%

3%

7%

0%

0%

0%

17%

                   

 

 

 

 

There is a positive but not strong correlation between Bible reading and church attendance of 0.33

15 respondents attending church once a year or less yet read their bible at least once a week. However 52 respondents who attend church at least once a week read their Bible less than once a month.

 

 


 

Where do you go ”most often” for your regular worship with others?

 

 

As might be expected the ordained worship more often in a dedicated church, although nearly 6% of them also use other public buildings, as do 13% of the <45 year olds.

Why do you attend church?

 

Respondents were given a list of nine factors and asked to list the three most important reasons and ranked them in order of importance, giving an order as follows:

  1. To worship God
  2. To grow in faith
  3. To be with others
  4. To receive the Eucharist
  5. To learn more about being a Christian
  6. To hear the Bible
  7. To teach
  8. We're told to by the Bible
  9. To celebrate holy days/festivals

The top four were the same for all demographics with most variation in ‘receiving the Eucharist’ where it was highest amongst Anglicans and lowest amongst the young (<45) males.

Interestingly although overwhelmingly highest by score ‘To worship God’ was not even included in their top three by 8.6% of the total. That group put ‘To be with others’ in first place followed by ‘To grow in faith’ and then ‘To receive the Eucharist’.

Have you changed where you worship?

 

 

The percentage of population moving each year is in the order of 5% for the over 40’s so it would suggest that most of our moves would be due to personal moves rather than theologically based.

This is borne out by the open ended question asking for an explanation of the move. Only 10 respondents gave a reason based on dissatisfaction with the church or its leadership.

Virtual church attendance

 

 

The <45’s are significantly more likely to have attended via video or internet streaming at 26% and females are slightly more likely to use remote access in general with only 52% never having done so.


 

Chapter 3. Changes in Church Attendance

 

Changes In frequency of your attendance

 

Generally about 18 % have changed their attendance frequency and these are almost equally split between those who have increased and those who have decreased.

There are a few caused by a lack of priest or other staff meaning more work for those left but generally the increases are largely positive. Most increases are caused by the availability of more and more varied services or by the respondents (voluntarily) taking on new roles including lay leadership and ordination.

Of those who have decreased, the majority of reasons are related to either lack of time or availability at the relevant time. Changes in work commitment and reduction in time due to illness (either themselves or a family member) or demands of children or old age account for much of this.

However about 15% of those decreased gave reasons which reflect concerns with church leadership, practice and theology: e.g.

  • Disheartened by lack of meaning
  • displeasure with new priest
  • I don't like the preaching from some leaders hung up on taking every word of the bible literally, some families are 'taking over', no-one else gets a look in, off-putting singer in group, homophobia, racism
  • I get lonely and depressed in church more than the outside world.
  • I realised that the clergy at my church don't enjoy leading the service I attend on Sundays. This makes me feel uncomfortable.

Attendance at place of worship

 

Over the last five years do you think the attendance numbers at your regular place of worship have changed?

 

Interestingly respondents were split almost equally between those who had increased, decreased or remained the same. The under 45 group  were significantly less likely to be in a decreasing church at 15% but still equally split between increase and remain the same. There was little variation by denomination or gender.

Reasons for increase

Respondents were given nine reasons for the increase in attendance and asked to rank them in order of those most responsible for the increase.

  1. The church is active in the local community
  2. More provision for families with children, and/or teenagers/young people
  3. Better support in helping people grow and live in faith
  4. Quality of ministry and preaching has increased
  5. More social/community activities
  6. The service schedule is more flexible, helping more people attend
  7. Change of leadership
  8. Amount and quality of Bible teaching has increased
  9. Change in mission priorities

Whilst the under 45’s put ‘2.   More provision for families’ in first place the top four were the same irrespective of gender age or denomination

Amongst other comments made were several who had experienced increase due to building development or increases in immigration


 

Reasons for decrease

 

Respondents were given ten reasons for the decrease in attendance and asked to rank them in order of those most responsible for the decrease.

  1. Less time and competing demands on people
  2. The church isn’t appealing to families with children, and/or teenagers/young people
  3. The church isn’t supporting people to grow and live in faith
  4. The UK is more hostile to Christianity
  5. Change of leadership
  6. The church isn’t doing enough in the local community
  7. Quality of ministry and preaching has decreased
  8. Not enough social/community activities
  9. Quality of Bible teaching has decreased 
  10. Mission priorities have changed

There is little difference by demographics but for all the top 2 were head and shoulders above the others in importance

A significant factor which arose from the other comments was decrease due to old age and death, but it probably would still have only come in at 8 or9.

 

. Importance of Christian Practice

 

Essential parts of Christian practice

Respondents were asked to select as many items from a list as they regarded to be ‘essential’ parts of Christian practice and rank them in order. (a score of 100% would indicate that everyone had ranked an item in first place.)

 

Demographics

Gender

 

Frequency

Percent

Male

 

711

55%

Female

 

580

45%

Other

 

3

0%

Prefer not to say

 

2

0%

Totals

 

1296

100%

 

Age

 

Frequency

Percent

16 - 24

 

5

0%

25 - 34

 

34

3%

35 - 44

 

78

6%

45 - 54

 

200

15%

55 - 64

 

427

33%

65 - 74

 

395

31%

75 or over

 

123

10%

Prefer not to say

 

34

3%

Totals

 

1296

100%