As we enter the new year, churches of all sizes should keep an eye on the changing trends in the church world and society at large. This church stats 2023 report focuses on all you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.
From inflation to turnover to public opinion, it’s important to understand these shifts and how they affect you as a church leader.
Some of these church stats for 2023 surprised us, and we think you’ll be curious to dive in as well!
You can read our full post with 17 Church Stats You Need to Know for 2023.
Table of contents
- 6 Top Church Stats 2023
- 1. Smaller Churches Are Experiencing a Higher Turnover
- 2. 20% of Churchgoers Visit an Online Church Monthly (Church Attendance Trends)
- 3. Inflation Is Impacting Churches
- 5. 31% of People Have a Great Amount of Confidence in Church and Organized Religion
- 6. 46% of Pastors Under the Age of 45 are Considering Quitting
- What Do These Church Stats for 2023 Mean for You?
6 Top Church Stats 2023
As we prepare our annual post and podcast discussion on church statistics, we look at a variety of the most important channels. The research and reports come from a wide range of resources like Pew research, Barna, Gallup, Lifeway research, the Unstuck group, and more.
We examine the top church management statistics, reports on Bible readers, church attenders, and find that the way many Christians live out their faith on a weekly basis is changing.
Let’s dive into some of the top statistics affecting church services, pastors, and congregations.
1. Smaller Churches Are Experiencing a Higher Turnover
To start off with some good news, the typical paid staff member at a church doesn’t turn over as frequently as you see in the general workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual turnover rate was 47.2% in 2021. (Turnover can include voluntarily quitting, layoffs, retirements, and discharges.)
When it comes to church management statistics, small churches under 200 people report a higher staff turnover rate than larger churches. According to the Unstuck Group report, small churches have seen a 22% staff turnover rate.
On the other hand, large congregations of more than 1,000 experience a 13% turnover rate. Most people consider that a mega church and would expect turnover to be higher but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Sometimes larger church attendance also leads to more resources. This can mean staff members are paid more, have more volunteers to help, and more administrative and technology support. Smaller churches may see more people with
2. 20% of Churchgoers Visit an Online Church Monthly (Church Attendance Trends)
The pandemic has changed how people view their worship experience and religious services. It’s no longer limited to in-person on a Sunday morning.
For example, if you look at how many Americans attend church weekly, churches of all denominations are seeing declining attendance. Even among people in the US who identify as “churchgoers,” over 57% did not attend in person or watch online in the previous month according to statistics from Pew Research.
That’s astonishing and slightly ironic that more than half of people who identify as churchgoers haven’t been to church in a month.
Furthermore, over 20% of church members now attend an online church service at least once per month. So this was not just a temporary adaptation to the pandemic. Statistics show there’s a significant increase in online attendance compared to a decade ago, or even simply pre-pandemic.
We don’t predict that the number of people watching online is going to decrease. So if your church does not offer any kind of online presence or virtual service, now is the time to invest in one!
Your online presence needs to include things like
- A strong church website
- Developing your church’s social media pages
- Online giving
- Bible app and other digital resources
3. Inflation Is Impacting Churches
Inflation has been a hot topic and news highlight over these past few months. Many people are concerned about how this affects their day to day purchases and lifestyle. And more churches are seeing possible detrimental effects from the economy as well.
On a good note, church giving increased by an average of 3.6% last year. The fact that church donations are increasing is great news. However, that rate of increase doesn’t match the high 7-10% inflation rates we saw in 2022.
Knowing that your church has less purchasing power as other costs rise is very important for churches to keep in mind when it comes to budget. Inflation may also spark church management related questions from your staff like needing a raise.
Church staff need to be aware of whatever is affecting the total population at large, because these issues will end up impacting churches over time. It’s always wise to keep an eye on charitable giving trends.
4. 39% of Americans Say They Have a High Trust For Clergy and Church Leaders
We found a report of the degree of trust that Americans have in various professionals. And only 39% of Americans rate clergy as having very high/high honesty and ethical standards on a five-point scale.
- nurses are rated at 89%
- medical doctors at 77%
- grade-school teachers at 75%
This means people are half as likely to trust ministry professionals as they are nurses, doctors, and elementary teachers.
So let’s dive deeper into what that means, especially when it comes to evangelism and how the church interacts with non-Christians.
We shouldn’t expect to have the benefit of the doubt, in fact the opposite. Knowing that people will be skeptical means we need to earn trust. This can certainly affect outreach efforts by faith based groups. On a positive, this should inspire leaders to walk into every situation with humility.
5. 31% of People Have a Great Amount of Confidence in Church and Organized Religion
Overall, confidence in U.S. institutions is at a new low. This includes major institutions like government, banks, and newspapers among others.
When it comes to church and organized religion, only 31% of those surveyed by Gallup reported that they had a great deal/quite a lot of confidence. We can certainly see this reflected in the declining number of people at church services. And, as we talk about in the 2023 statistics blog post, young adults are less lucky to have a church affiliation or even identify as a Christian.
Again, this shows us we need to remember that we work from a deficit of trust in today’s society.
6. 46% of Pastors Under the Age of 45 are Considering Quitting
Burnout and mental health issues are a concerning problem for ministry leaders. About 46% of pastors under 45 are considering quitting. There is a slight generation difference, as only 34% of pastors over the age of 45 feel the same.
Statistics don’t necessarily show that this affects protestant pastors and protestant churches differently from other
The pandemic and financial pressures may be playing a role in this. In addition, we just talked about decreasing trust for churches and ministry leaders. Ministry professionals had more respect and honor in society a generation ago. Now, they sometimes experience the exact opposite. This can cause a great deal of stress and disappointment, especially for younger pastors.
Many churches are making efforts to help church staff avoid burnout. Serving church members with a healthy balance is becoming more important than ever. It’s also essential that church leaders model a healthy work/life balance themselves, so they can best serve their church and community.
What Do These Church Stats for 2023 Mean for You?
The church stats 2023 report paints a clear picture that church management and church staff need to keep an eye on the ever-changing trends. You should always be aware of what’s going on in the world, as this directly affects your congregation and staff.
Leaders need to also remember that trust is hard to come by today, so church outreach efforts need to be earned and not taken for granted. Finally, church staff should take steps to incorporate wellness practices into their church and lead by example.
With these six church stats in mind, pastors can be better prepared for what lies ahead in 2023—both good and bad! Whether you’re running a large megachurch or a small non-denominational congregation, understanding these key trends can help ensure that your house of worship remains relevant and successful today and long into the future. So don’t wait any longer—start doing research today so you can stay ahead of any potential changes!