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10 Reasons Americans Go to Church and 8 Reasons They Stay Home

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes about spirituality as well as many other topics.

Why do some people choose to go to church whereas others do not?

Why do some people choose to go to church whereas others do not?

Pew Research Center Study

Founded in 2004, the Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., that keeps track of studies. The studies include those on public opinions, social issues, and religious-related issues in the United States.

The organization is also responsible for gathering information concerning other issues and polls. The Pew Research Center handles many different areas of public interest. Religion is one of the center's main areas.

According to their research, Americans who go to church do so for different reasons. Here are some of the reasons they say they go to church regularly.

  • Family: About two in three go to church because of their children.
  • Obligation: Some people go to church out of obligation.
  • Guidance: People want to receive a word to help them with what they are going through.
  • Spiritual need: Some go to church hoping to feel God’s presence.
  • Community: Others go to church for the fellowship and social reasons.

Unfortunately, some of the above wishes are not met. Therefore, some people choose to stay home. About one in five adults who go to church on a regular basis say they do not usually feel God’s presence. Only one person in four says he doesn't usually feel a sense of community and fellowship. About four in 10 say they do not feel a connection to God or to God's people.


Long-Time Churchgoers vs. New Attendees

It is interesting that the findings also show that the number of those who have attended church for many years is declining while there is an increase in the number of newcomers who have not attended church for many years.

A logical reason for the decline in one demographic and rise in another is because old-timers have noticed a great change in what goes on in churches today compared to the sacredness of church activities in the past.

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Those who have recently started going to church do not have years of attendance for them to make a logical comparison.

10 Reason People Attend Church

The results of a new Pew Research Center study was released on August 1, 2018. The findings included 10 reasons people do attend church. The following reasons are listed in the order of the most to the least number of people who stated their particular reasons for going to church.

  1. They want to feel closer to God when they go to church.
  2. They go to give their children a moral foundation.
  3. Some go to church to become better people.
  4. They go for comfort in times of trouble or sorrow.
  5. They want to hear valuable sermons.
  6. They seek to be a part of a community of faith.
  7. They attend because of religious traditions.
  8. Some people attend church out of obligation.
  9. Some Americans go to meet and be connected to other people.
  10. It is not a surprise that some people go to church to keep peace with a spouse or other family members who think they should go to church.

8 Reasons Americans Do Not Attend Church

The results of a new Pew Research Center study that was just released include eight reasons Americans do not attend church. It is good that this number is fewer than the 10 reasons people do go to church.

A large number say they stay away from the church not because of a lack of faith. The reasons include personal and practical reasons. The followings are in the order from the most reasons to the least reasons.

  1. People say they practice their faith in other ways than being inside a church building.
  2. Some people say they don't like the way worship is done.
  3. They don't like the sermons that some preachers just grab from the internet.
  4. They don't have the time to go to church.
  5. They don't feel welcomed at the churches they go to.
  6. Health reasons keep them away.
  7. The person is not a believer.
  8. No church they like is in their area.

Your Reasons

There could be other reasons people go to church and reasons they do not go to church. However, the above are the reasons gathered by the Pew Research Center. If certain people were not polled, then their reasons would not be included.

Perhaps you have your own reasons for going to church or staying home that were not listed. That does not mean that your reasons are not valid ones. Feel free to share your reasons in the comment section below.


Pew Research Center: Why Americans Go (and Don’t Go) to Religious Services

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