Church Membership

Church Attendance Patterns Are Changing And We Have To Adapt

Church attendance is changing.

As recently as 20 years ago, if ten people became church members (either formally or informally) the average attendance grew by eight or nine people.

Not any more.

Today, if ten people become church members, average attendance grows by five or six.

Here’s why.

According to Thom Rainer, “About 20 years ago, a church member was considered active in the church if he or she attended three times a week. Today, a church member is considered active in the church if he or she attends three times a month.” In many places, it’s even lower than that.

This is not fringe people who are attending that infrequently. And these are not people who have quit going to church. This is the pattern for active church members.

There are many reasons for this phenomenon, of course, as Thom Rainer goes on to explain in this post. Carey Nieuwhof has a different, but also helpful take on why this is happening in a series that starts with this article.

Since they’ve covered the “why?” so well, I’m not going to try to add to it. Instead, I want to make a couple observations about what it means for the average church.

Signs Of Life: 7 Ways To Find A Great Small Church To Attend And Serve

A quality small church experience is different than a quality big church experience. But too many people don’t know what those differences are, so they don’t know what to look for in a good small church experience.

There are several characteristics to pay attention to when looking for a great small church to attend and get involved in. And they all answer this essential question in some way…

Are They Doing the Small Things Well?

You can’t hold small churches to the same standards as big churches. It’s not that small churches aren’t as good as big ones, it’s that small church quality isn’t the same as big church quality.

So, if you’re looking for a good, small church to worship and serve in, you need to look for a church that does small church things well, instead of trying to do big church things on a smaller scale.

With that in mind, here are a few characteristics to look for, based on some of the differences between big churches and small churches.