Why Do People Go to Church?


According to a recent Gallup poll, 75% of Americans go to church, primarily, to hear a sermon.  As might be expected, sermons matter more to Protestants than Catholics.  (Interestingly enough, partaking of the sacraments or fulfilling a spiritual obligation does not appear to be listed as an option).

And why do people skip church?  They do so primarily because the prefer to worship individually.  (“Don’t like organized religion” was second).

Here is what the folks at Gallup have concluded about their poll:

Belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque provides people with important social benefits that Gallup research shows improve personal well-being. While social benefits are clearly important to majorities of those who worship regularly, what most motivates them to attend is learning more about the tenets of their faith, as well as connecting that faith to their lives. Protestants, who have more control over their church leadership and flexibility in where they worship, place even greater emphasis on the quality of sermons than do Catholics, although both groups rate sermons highly.

Fulfilling these expectations could be critical in order for religious organizations to survive. But to expand their ranks, reigniting the interest of lapsed members should be a priority. Converting those who say they aren’t very religious or who don’t like organized religion may be futile. But churches and others may find some success with the message that worshipping in communion with others has benefits that can’t be achieved worshipping alone — addressing the No. 1 reason non-attendees give for not attending.

Check it out here.