10 Church Statistics You Need To Know For 2018

10 Church Statistics You Need To Know For 2018

Thomas CostelloChurch Leadership 19 Comments

*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

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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

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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.

Looking for more statistics?  Here is our list from 2017.

Ready to start using these church statistics to help grow your church? Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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Comments 19

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  1. I believe we have “programed” God out of our assemblies. If we go to the store for eggs time and time again and there are no eggs we will eventually stop going to the store for eggs. People need God in their lives, they need Gods provision for their lives. They can go to a “program” anywhere.

    1. Agreed. I have noticed that “modern” churches tend to lean more towards the “fun” aspects of traditional “Christianity” and away from things like disicipleship. The FASTEST WAY to lose an entire generation is to ignore disicipleship. We need a network of non-affliated Evangelical Christians to disiciple new Christians because it is becoming clear that the new “happy, clappy, schampy” churches aren’t going to preach the TRUTH to those who need it the most! What I am proposing is an Underground Church. The mainstream is DONE with preaching the real Jesus. We need volunteers to step forward to lead the few real Christians that are left.

  2. I did not know that 61% of small churches have fewer than 100 members. My wife and I would like to help our local church to look nicer so that we can attract more people but we don’t know how to do it. It would be nice to find a way to decorate the church so that members can tell others about how nice this church looks and that way they will be curious about visiting it.

    1. The challenge with this is that the tactic one uses to attract them is what you’ll be forced to use to keep them. Just let the gospel of Jesus Christ be the center of attraction.

  3. Why is it sad that only 40% consider religion important in their lives.

    Spirituality has value. Religion doesn’t.

    Declining religion is a great thing.

    1. How did you come to that conclusion, Gerry? I understand from the Bible that the church was built by Jesus, bought by His blood and its membership consists of the saved. That makes makes religion vitally important as I understand the matter. What is the standard behind your conclusion? Who has the answer, man or God?

      1. Howard, you would need to qualify the word “religion.” I prefer the use of “Christianity”. Religion is a system of worship of a diety. Christianity can be defined the same way. so be careful to qualify your statement.

  4. I just published a new book Titled “Churchism in the Church Age” where I explained why the Church Age is collapsing at a very rapid rate. It’s because it was wrong from the beginning.

    1. Another book… Have you ever considered if the people writing all these books went and got the Book and read it and shared what’s in it with their friends and neighbors there would be the greatest revival of the church in history? Everyone is called to do everything except what God instructed us to do. The Great Commission. Herein lies the problem of church decline….

  5. Thank you for this summary. I’m a Children’s Minister, and one of the most disturbing experiences I see in our kid’s and student ministry is the decline in their attendance. I believe the parents are communicating a message to their children that they may not be aware: that is that church is optional in their life, yet other activities are not – sports is one example. My greater concern is these children are lacking godly community in their life. Their parents are also not attending church, any form of Bible Study and their own spiritual practices are sporadic. In this, they also neglect the spiritual training of their own children. Lack of attendance and lack of discipleship in the home have left these children open wide for the enemy to oppress them. How you do you see this trend growing? What are ways churches can encourage families that church attendance and home discipleship are important?

    1. Hi Marcie – I just wanted to acknowledge your post. Thank you. I don’t have an answer based on evidence; however, as the Bible says that out of an abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Therefore, I believe that the church can do better engaging the heads of households on non-Sabbath days so that parents are filled with love and the knowledge of home discipleship. Parents should be inundated with the tools and resources to effectively live and parent as Christians, which could, in turn, translate to that outpouring from within onto their children.

      I also believe that access to information and social media now has our children’s eyes and ears the majority of the day. Such access can be perilous to their formative years. They already look up to people in the limelight, who, let’s face it, most often are not providing sound guidance and inspiration to the youth. I firmly believe limiting access to these platforms and reprogramming data into our children’s minds would have an enormous impact on our world. Of course, this is my two cents. Thanks to any who’ve read this far.

      Thank you for your service, Marcie, and do not be disheartened. Our children need you, and people like you. God bless.

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  6. Publish total adherents for the year ending 2017 for all major churches in America. Such as the Catholic Church, Churches of Christ, Presbyterian Church USA, etc Thx

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    2. ARDA will publish their data of about 150 American churches by county and state for 2020,. They do this every ten years. Need to buy the book.

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