Any Given Sunday

According to facts I learned yesterday at my Leadership Booster Workshop, on any given Sunday, there are:

If you build it, they won't necessarily come

* 40% of your church’s membership roster that won’t show up. That means 40% are staying home, on vacation, sick, in a nursing home, at the hospital, worshiping elsewhere or on a business trip.

*75% of people in my town are not worshiping anywhere. That means they are either of another faith that doesn’t keep a Sunday Sabbath, they are some of the 40% that don’t show up, even though they are technically members, we haven’t introduced them to our church or, just flat haven’t invited them.

*75% of Protestant Churches are worshiping with fewer than 150 parishioners.

*Churches that are growing (adding to their number, like the early church in Acts) have a 5 visitor/100 worshiper ratio.

*During the Recession, charitable giving o’the green has actually gone up, but Church giving (tithes, offering, designated funds) have gone down. So, people are giving more, just not to Church.

I don’t want to paint too bleak a picture for the Church. For a body that started with 12 hard-core believers, we’ve not done bad at all! I do want to find out from you, though:

Where are you on Any Given Sunday? If you have a church home, how did you know it was the place for you?



24 responses to “Any Given Sunday

  1. There’s another statistic running around, but I don’t know the numbers for it. It’s churches like mine. Ours has doubled or so in size in the last two years because we built a new building.

    The new people who are coming are part of the first stat, the 40% of some other church’s congregation. While there are some really nice people who have started coming, and I like welcome them to our wee church, I think of them like fair-weather friends. I wonder as I chat with them and invite them to functions and try to help them plug into ministries, “how long until the next new building is erected and you jump ship again?”

    • I think I know the stat your talking about. We talked about that, too, yesterday. It may be that at about 80% capacity, people tend to get uncomfortable, because their personal space needs (which really, in church?!?!?!) overcome their needs for fellowship. They think church is too crowded. Building a larger facility brings them back, because they think there’s now room at the table.

      Part of my wants to say “tough cookies” and another part wants to say, it’s the goldfish theory, which is, the fish grows to the size its habitat can accomodate. definitely something to ponder.

  2. hmmm…that got cut off in the middle by my not-so-mad interneting skills. : )

    I do wonder about the stats for people that come for a year or two and then move on.

    And then the idea of the “one-morning stand” is kind of attractive as well. I find the idea of being anonymous in church, to slip in, learn, and slip out without being bombarded by responsibilities, very attractive.

    At any rate, the place I go every Sunday (and Wed. ain’t I religious!) is hopping with people and rather vibrant. We’re nondenominational, which can be good but has its downside too (no church camps, for one.) Our pastor is young and funny which keeps me awake in service, but other folks have complained that the sermons aren’t academic enough. But it’s family, so I’ll stick with it; even with all the weekend company we’ve been having. ; P

  3. 5 years ago when we moved from AZ to GA, our old pastors recommended we go to North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, and within an hour we were told there is a HUGE need for small group leaders for students.
    Because of this need in their youth ministry, we felt the heavy weight of needing to serve. Our skills and passions lead us to pursue and eventually serving in those environments, and we knew we had found our “church home,” because it was a place we could both serve within our strengths.

    • I think churches are sometimes not very good at communicating the opportunities to serve to new or potentially new members. I went from new member to Church Council member in a year, but I have seen people who joined at the same time just “show up” for Sunday morning, maybe because we did a poor job at connecting their strengths to our needs .

      • The question would be, did they show up because the church didn’t connect them, or because just showing up was what they wanted to do? Some people are not interested in serving, some are serving elsewhere and just use their home church to recharge their batteries, and some may not yet be spiritually developed enough to be ready to serve in the role God has planned for them yet.

        For every church that fails to communicate opportunities, I think there’s also the churches that go the other direction, making you feel like an inferior Christian if you’re not on at least seven committees. :>

  4. I was invited as a guest by my boyfriend (future husband)’s mom. That was oh, twelve years ago or so.
    Got saved there.
    Married there.
    Dedicated my children there.
    Began serving there.
    Got baptized there.
    Now I work there.
    And I still love it there.

    • There is a lot to be said for sticking with the spot where you first met your one true love, and, of course, I’m talking about Jesus. I’m sure you’re husband is swell, too, though! There are a lot of memories in an experience like that.

  5. We came to our current church about 12 years ago through their VBS program. Through bringing our kids to VBS, we got to meet the people and started to really feel at home there. After a few years, we actually felt God calling us away to a church plant a few miles away. After 3 years at the church plant, we felt an undeniable call back to our original church. The Sunday we returned, the sermon was about the prodigal son, and the father running out to welcome him back. Dozens of old friends welcomed us back with open arms, saying how nice it was to have us back, even though we hadn’t told anyone we were returning. It was such a profound confirmation that we truly did belong there. So nice!

    • Following God’s call leads you to where you’re supposed to be. It’s also nice to have confirmation of the things God’s doing in our lives. I love that story, because even though both places were God’s will for you, it was the path and not the end result that is most important.

  6. So your church only has 12 people in it?

    • no – I meant the CHURCH grew from 12 disciples… it wasn’t necessarily a remark on my church home in particular. We have just under 300 on Sundays, but many, many more on our church rolls.

  7. I am actually one of the original founders of our church in Brooklyn (11 yrs ago). Sundays are my busiest days, either preaching or teaching or doing something. I actually try to take some Sundays off so I can actually rest.

    So, yeah, I’m always at Church. In the summer, I take a lot of weekends off with the family.

    • awesome, Moe! I tend to get pretty busy at church on Sundays, but I typically visit my parent’s church about once every couple months – it’s nice on those days not to have to make sure ministry chair 1 is appraised of what’s going on in week 3… you know…

  8. I’ve been kind of a heathen lately – I haven’t been attending church regularly. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just haven’t found a church that fits me after leaving my last church. There is a new one coming into the area that I will visit (and possibly get involved in) after next weekend, as I am helping out with a different retreat.

    I definitely have noticed that a lot of the statistics you mentioned above are true. I have been wrestling for a few years now about the effectiveness of church services. I read UnChristian a few years back and in the research they found, there is only about 20-30% of the population who is at all interested in going to a typical Sunday service style church – and many churches are just fighting to pull from those 20-30%. (I don’t remember the exact number). The majority of the population, even if they are christian, have no desire to sit through a typical service. It might be time to start rethinking what Church is supposed to be.

    • I don’t like thinking of being in competition with other churches, but I do think that some churches are a good fit for some and not for others – I feel so blessed to find a home where I can worship through music, service and prayer.

      I pray the same thing for you!

  9. I think serving in the church is vitally important. Once we started going to the church we’re at right now, we felt like it was our responsibility to serve others… it gave us some ownership, and showed us in a sense that it’s not always about us. πŸ™‚

    • being involved in the church is key to making it feel like home. Think about how much more you value your home than, say, a hotel room… I don’t want to go to a hotel church

  10. On any given Sunday, I’m in Re:new. A worship venue at my church – Church of the Foothills. I serve there – run sound and occasionally host worship. I actually try and take a couple Sunday’s off every quarter so I can get restored.

    • taking a break from the routine can give a fresh perspective, too. It’s good to take a break and worship in other ways, too – getting out and hiking in the mountains or spending quiet time on a beach – meeting God outside of a building designated for the purpose can be a rejuvenating experience.

  11. On any given Sunday, I am preaching to the people of Stoney Point Baptist Church. I believe that God place me there. It isn’t easy and not always fun, but He has blessed us/me tremendously.

  12. On any given Sunday, I’m watching Charles Stanley’s services with the family, followed by a Christian teaching DVD of one sort or another and then a Gaither music DVD.

    The church that still has my membership, though I’ve not been back in more than a dozen years, was one at which I taught Sunday School, did childcare for special events, maintained the website, helped fix their computers, and attended every Sunday. For a few years it was home, but gradually we became aware of a ‘ceiling’ in the church. What I mean by that is a level of spiritual growth beyond which the church was not prepared to take you, or even willing to take you, because it had become so focused on getting people to attend that it was afraid to do or say anything that might make people uncomfortable. Just asking to have an in-depth Bible study offered as a Sunday School option for adults was viewed with suspicion and allowed only grudgingly to make us stop asking for it. Eventually, we left that church quietly out of a desire not to cause a scene.

    After that, we did attend several churches in the area, but the nearby ones seemed largely dead and the one we did like was a three hour round trip (we’re out in the country a fair ways). Then our vehicle broke down irreparably and we were without one for a couple of months, so we started doing services as a family with Charles Stanley and gradually added other components to it as we went.

    Every so often we check one of the churches in the area that has a pastor change or some other growth possibility, but so far we haven’t felt led to do other than what we’re doing, and we’ve been growing as a family through it. I still recommend people to look for a local church as first priority. We’re not to “forsake the assembling of ourselves together” according to Scripture. The three of us are forming an “assembling of ourselves” for now, but we’re still seeking a place God would have us be.

  13. I’m in church.

    And I return in the evening because that’s when there is so much pretty singing and music. πŸ˜‰

    I sorta like my church.

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