New research by the Barna group paints an interesting picture of those who are aware of the church and even think positively of the Christian faith, but who, for whatever reason, feel that actively being a part of church is not for them.
‘Churchless’ is the title of Barna’s latest research into understanding today’s unchurched and how to connect with them.
The research reveals that the number of churchless Americans has risen sharply since the early 1990s, when only around two out of 10 adults were churchless.
That figure rose to three in 10 in the early 2000s and today now stands at nearly half the adult population (49 percent).
Those who do not currently or have never attended church make up 10 percent of the population but a far higher figure is the de-churched – those who were once active in church but are no longer – who make up exactly a third of American adults.
Eight percent of the population are “minimally churched” – they attend church “infrequently and unpredictably”.
“Not too many years ago, church attendance and basic Bible literacy were the cultural norm. Being a Christian didn’t feel like swimming against the cultural current. But now?” said Barna.
Churchless confirms that the world has, indeed, altered in significant ways during the last few decades. It’s not just your imagination.”
The younger the person is, the more likely it is they have never been to church and are ‘post-Christian’ – lack any Christian identity, belief and practice.
But the door hasn’t been completely shut, with two in three unchurched Americans describing themselves as spiritual, and six in ten churchless adults saying they prayed in the last week.
“The truth is, most of them are already looking for a connection with God,” Barna said.
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