More People Sleeping in on Sunday

August 5, 2004 by

The number of adults who skip church has nearly doubled since 1991, rising from 39 million to 75 million. These unchurched adults, defined as adults who haven’t attended church in the past six months other than holidays or special events like weddings or funerals, account for 34% of the population.

In a bizarre twist, while about half of the churched population has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior (only half!?), one in six unchurched adults (about 17%) have done so as well.


Reaching the growing population of the unchurched will be a special challenge, says George Barna:

“Millions of young adults are more interested in truth, authenticity, experiences, relationships and spirituality than they are in laws, traditions, events, disciplines, institutions and religion. The confluence of preconceived notions, past experiences and evolving lifestyles and values means that existing churches simply cannot reach millions of today‚Äôs unchurched people. The rapidly swelling numbers of unchurched people may be forcing existing churches to reinvent their core spiritual practices while holding tightly to their core spiritual beliefs. It will take radically new settings and experiences to effectively introduce unchurched individuals to biblical principles and practices.”

It’s going to take a lot more than fancy brochures and contemporary worship music to reach the unchurched.

A more perplexing question is why don’t the 17% of unchurched adults who believe in Jesus come to church? Something’s scared them off, and it seems like the body of Christ could use their input now more than ever.

Even more perplexing is how only half of the churched population has accepted Jesus Christ. Perhaps preaching to the choir is more necessary than we thought. And if that’s the case, it seems altar calls aren’t cutting it.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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