*We have an updated version of this post for 2021 you can find here: 17 Church Statistics You Need To Know For 2023
When you’re trying to understand trends around church attendance, engaging millennials and building your church, you might feel at a loss.
One of the best ways to keep yourself connected is to look at church statistics. These statistics help you uncover what members and the unchurched want and need most.
As your church evolves, you’ll need to continue studying trends and statistics to stay current. As 2018 begins, use these 10 stats to your advantage.
1. Pastors Are Older
Millennials aren’t heeding the call to serve God quite like the Boomer generation. In fact, only 1 in 7 pastors is under 40. Part of this is due to many pastors finding their calling to ministry later in life. While it’s not a bad thing, pastors aren’t retiring as early as they used to, which doesn’t leave room for younger pastors to step in. Having a mix of young and old helps your church appeal to a wider range of ages.
2. Online Giving Grows
If your church hasn’t adopted online giving yet, you could be missing out. A shocking 49% of all church giving happens via a debit or credit card. Passing around a plate isn’t enough anymore. With most of your members carrying cards, it’s easier for them to simply tithe via an app or website instead of carrying cash to church. With 60% of churchgoers wanting to donate digitally, you need an online giving platform.
3. Churches Are Growing And Declining
One of the most depressing church statistics you often see is how many churches are declining. Thom Rainer performed a study with 1,000 churches and the 80% number you often see is wrong. The study found that 65% of churches are in decline or plateauing. However, 35% are growing, which should give you hope.
4. Rise Of The Podcast
While you might be using videos and blog posts on your church website, are you uploading regular podcasts? Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most popular mediums online. In fact, 112 Americans have listened to a podcast and 42 million listen to podcasts weekly. Church members and even the unchurched enjoy podcasts since they’re more casual than a sermon, but often tackle current issues their churches shy away from.
5. Millennials Are Spiritual
Many millennials no longer consider themselves religious. Sadly, only 40% consider religion to be important in their lives. However, there’s still hope. A surprising 80% consider themselves to have spiritual beliefs. It’s not that they don’t have faith. They just don’t connect with organized religion in the same way their parents did. This is why non-denominational churches tend to appeal to millennials. It’s important to remember that millennials now have children and it’s important to start thinking about ways to reach Generation Z.
6. Billions Of Christians
While all the talk of church decline might make you want to stop looking at church statistics, it’s important to note that Christians make up 2.3 billion people around the world. With numbers this large, the church isn’t going away anytime soon. It does mean that everyone will have to work together to continue helping younger generations find their way.
7. People Want Online Options
Many people travel constantly for work or aren’t able to attend services due to odd work schedules. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to attend. Google sees around 30,000 searches every month related to online church and church services online. You don’t have to switch to an online church to reach people. However, offering live streaming or uploading your sermons helps to reach more people and can boost online tithing.
8. Churches Need To Merge
Far too often, churches are built due to petty disagreements. This leads to numerous small churches with few members. In fact, 61% of small churches have fewer than 100 members. That’s not enough to support the cost of maintaining a church. Even the Catholic church has experienced a 69% decline since 1965. This resulted in both closures and mergers. It’s a sign that for smaller churches to survive, it may be time to consider merging versus closing.
9. Relevant Sermons
Sermons are still the most important aspect of church. A Gallup poll discovered that 76% of churchgoers said sermons teaching scripture were most important to them. However, 75% also wanted sermons that were relevant to their lives. This means to appeal to and engage your church members, your sermons must be relevant while still incorporating and teaching scripture.
10. Social Media Growth
Is your church on social media? If not, now’s the time to start. Worldwide, there were 2.46 billion social media users in 2017. That number is expected to grow to 2.62 billion in 2018. Social media gives you the chance to reach billions. Think of how many people might see a shared post or watch an engaging video from your church. A single post could be enough to engage someone who’s questioning their faith or hasn’t even thought about church before.
Ready to start using these church statistics to help grow your church? Contact us today to find out how we can help.