Where We’re Missing

March 20, 2007 by

I was reading my good friends (I’ve never met them, but it sounds better, and I like them) over at Church Relevance, and they posted some interesting statistics from the Barna Group. They define being unchurched as not having attended church in the last six months. And using that definition, Barna and friends came up with the following statistics of unchurched demographics:

  • 63% of Asians are unchurched
  • 49% of homosexuals
  • 47% of political liberals
  • 37% of single adults
  • 34% of Hispanics
  • 31% of heterosexuals
  • 29% of married adults
  • 25% of African Americans
  • 19% of political conservatives

To me, the numbers in and of themselves aren’t scary. When you group them, it gets different. Look at liberals vs. conservatives. Heterosexuals vs. homosexuals. Hispanics vs. Asians vs. African Americans. Married vs. single. It’s easy to say that the problem is on the attendee’s end. But is it right?

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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7 Responses to “Where We’re Missing”

  • Kent
    March 20, 2007

    I like you too, Joshua.
    – Kent (of Church Relevance)

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  • Chris Huff
    March 20, 2007

    I saw this information on barna, then on Church Relevance, but I didn’t personalize it as you did. Thanks for reminding me to do my part in reaching out to others – even if they’re not just like me.

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  • So if 49% of homosexuals haven’t been to church in the last six months, then 51% have? That seems amazing to me that 51% would actually go to church, when so many Christians publicly denounce homosexuality…But I do agree that the disparity in church attendance between “opposing” groups is interesting to note.

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  • Truth Seeker
    March 21, 2007

    I find the 51% of homosexuals thing pretty interesting actually. I think it shows that the church is not as mean and hate filled as many make them out to be. The church may oppose, and rightly should, this immoral lifestyle, but those who fall into this category may not be seeing all the hate that many think is coming from the church.
    My sister is a recovering homosexual and found many churches in her area to be very warm and friendly, even when they found out she was struggling with this sin. I think its encouraging that 51% of this demographic group (though small overall) are going to church. It means that there is a hope and possibility for them to encounter Christ and turn away from their sin if they are not a Christian already.

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  • david moerbe
    March 21, 2007

    These statistics seem right on when we look at what is behind them. The majority of Asians were probably raised in a Budhist background thus limits the expore to the church expect for the occasional wedding or funeral. The majority of homosexuals recognize that the Christian church for the most part rejects the homosexual lifestyle and therefore will either avoid church or seek out (the 51%)a congregtation that is accepting of the lifestyle. The 47% regarding political liberals is constitant with the reality that many social agenda items in the poltical realm run against the belief and value system of most churchs. The rest of the unchurched precentages run pretty consistant for overall unchurched patterns.
    The challenge becomes how do you use this information to connect with segments of our society and culture that often embrace values, attiudes, and beliefs that are contrary to the message of Christ. This includes not just Asians, homosexuals, or political liberls but everyone on that list.

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  • Jason
    March 22, 2007

    I love seeing these stats and that we are talking about this…it is exciting that we have an opportunity to address where we have made it hard for various demographics to come to church. It seems like God is mercifully revealing where our doors have closed people out that he wants to connect to! Very cool! And overwhelming at times!
    David- I think that you probably didn’t intend this- but the tone of your email is kind of offensive. It seems like most of the things you are saying are based on large assumptions ( for example – most Asians are raised Budhist? and the political left social agendas are against the church…??)I’m not trying to be nitpicky here with you- I just think that this is also part of why we have these stats…that this reveals a lot of our own internal judgments that God is letting us face right now.
    I think that you are right though…the challenge does become how we use this information to connect with people…I wonder if for many of us, the biggest challenge will be in tearing down the “us v. them” walls we so quickly construct?? In our language, our programs, our outreach and service and asking the question- who are these really for and are we actually connecting with those Jesus wants to connect to? Or are we just “reshuffling the church” deck/ population in our communities?

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  • Greg Marquez
    March 24, 2007

    These results seem a little bit off to me. Accoring to the original post at Church Relevance 1/3 of Americans have not attened church in the last 6 months. It would seem then that 2/3 of Americans have attended church at least once in the last 6 months. That number seems way to high to me.
    I would guess the number you would get if you actually counted people would be closer to 20-25%. That’s not to mention the problem with describing a person as “churched” if they attend church once every 6 months.
    Greg Marquez

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