Church Attendance Down, Bible Reading Up

April 11, 2005 by

Barna’s latest study of American religious beliefs and practices shows little change over the past 15 years. A few things that have changed:

  • Bible reading is up.
  • Church attendance is down.
  • Unchurched adults attending small groups are up.
  • Sunday school is down.
  • Christians sharing their faith is up.
  • Having a biblical view of God’s character is down.

But these few changes pale in comparison to the nearly four dozen categories that haven’t changed. The glacial pace of religious change over the long term shows the need for a change in direction, according to George Barna.

“You cannot make good strategic decisions without reliable information about the people or situations you hope to change,” says Barna. “Bringing about genuine and lasting religious transformation requires leadership that is more aggressive than simply constructing bigger buildings, replacing the overhead projector with a big-screen projection system, and introducing a few new programs. Our era is noted for distractions, stress, technology, choice, busyness, information overload and mistrust. Effective leaders must spearhead a thoroughly conceived and highly targeted plan that runs a significant level of risk and promises attractive returns on people‚Äôs investment of themselves. Merely tinkering with the existing system is a recipe for irrelevance and abandonment.”

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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2 Responses to “Church Attendance Down, Bible Reading Up”

  • John
    April 12, 2005

    I wonder how Barna is defining a ‘Biblical view of God’. It doesn’t define the term anywhere on the website.


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  • ken desjarlais
    January 20, 2009

    church attendance down? no kidding.lol
    well duhh, of course it is. people are plain fed up with top down leadership, manipulative, tithe sucking controlling pastors .post modernism is not dead.lol


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