About a week ago, I created a survey for people who either do not go to church at all or only go on occasion. These people may or may not consider themselves Christians, but that wasn't the point. The point was to get a better understanding of this community and see if there were any correlations in the data collected. (If you can't tell, I have a psych degree and I love research... LOL)
I had no other intentions behind the survey other than to get more information and to hear from this population of people themselves. But as the surveys came in, I did notice some correlations that were pretty interesting and I had someone reach out to me asking me to share the data. So I decided I might as well create a blog post about it, so we can ALL benefit from it. :)
What do you say? Let's get started!
Here is a list of the questions I asked on the survey:
- How old are you?... Where are you from?
- Male or female?
- Do you consider yourself a Christian? Why or why not
- Do you attend church? If so... how often
- Why don't you attend church on a regular basis?
- What would make you want to go to church? If anything.
- Did you ever attend church? Maybe when you were younger?
- In your opinion, do you think it is necessary for Christians to go to church regularly
- In your opinion, what could Christians do differently to be more welcoming to people with different beliefs?
- Thank you for your participation. :) Your answers to these questions will only be used with your permission and no names will be used.
Do I have your permission?
The participants ranged in age from 19-62 and the majority of them (all but 1) were female. Every single person, whether they no longer go to church or they just go on occasion, said that they still consider themselves to be Christian. Furthermore, there was only 1 participant who said they no longer went to church.
There was a variety of answers to the question "Why don't you attend church on a regular basis?", but in summary it came down to not enough time, not finding a church that is a good fit, not wanting to go alone, having to work, health issues, and family restraints.
All the participants had some history with church and many of them even went every Sunday as a kid.
As for regular attendance being necessary... the responses were a little of both. Some said no. Some said yes. Some said it's important, yet not the most important. I even had a few people who were regular church attenders take the survey that said it is not necessary to go to church to be a Christian. They felt it was more important to be the church to others than to attend a church.
This part is where we as Christians need to listen up.
For the question: "In your opinion, what could Christians do differently to be more welcoming to people with different beliefs?", an overwhelming amount said "not to judge". Others said to "love others and be more like Jesus". So really these answers are the same, they are just worded differently.
As important as it is to go to church, it is more important to be the church. I attend church regularly and I love going, because it is a great community to be around. I would encourage everyone to find a church that is a good fit for them and embrace it. However, it does no good for us to set in a church building if we are not going to be the church outside those four walls.
I would argue that it is necessary for Christians to go to church, because Jesus himself attended church and so did the disciples.
I would argue that it is necessary for us as Christians to be open, loving, and genuine as that is also who Jesus was as a person.
I would argue that as Christians, we have to find a loving way to tell someone their actions don't line up with Jesus. As one of the participants said, "Try to show them why maybe their beliefs don't line up with the bible without making them feel inferior or like they're being judged".
I think that people, Christian or not, who don't attend church regularly are often steered away simply because of the people in it. And that's not okay. The statement that the participant gave above was so powerful... "without making them feel inferior". Just because we are Christian, does not mean that we are better than others. It simply means, we have a second chance to live a life worthy of going to heaven and we should want that for everyone. Our actions have to line up with our words and our words with our actions.
So, I want to present 2 challenges:
- Try this week to be as much like Jesus as you can. We're not perfect. But we do have opportunities to share Jesus through our daily actions. This is what is going to help win souls into the Kingdom and ultimately be a fulfillment of our life and calling.
- If you do not have a church home or if you don't attend church regularly, I want to challenge you to try out a church next Sunday. Make it a point to go. if you have to mark out time in your calendar and schedule it, then do so. If you really can't make it to a church, try out an online service. Many churches are streaming their services online, so it is very accessible.
Thank you all for reading and thank you to all the survey participants. I'm so glad you opened up and let me in on a small part of your life.
Let me know in the comments or through email (sayhello@the well-blog.com) how this week goes with your challenges!