It is time to turn over a new leaf, well, at least a leaf that has not been turned over for a while. My new goal is to write on this blog by each Monday night of the month. If I don’t make the goal, please be gentle on me.
My mind has been a race track lately pondering why church attendance seems to be declining in many and maybe even most churches while my perceived opinion is that there is a spiritual hunger among so many people in our society today. So let’s consider some “hard survey facts” from Pew Research Center which conducted identical surveys of 35,000 people in 2007 and 2014. The big change seems to be that in the last seven years those claiming no religious affiliation at all jumped by 6.7% while Mainline Protestants fell by 3.4%.
A couple of interesting findings from this same Pew Research survey showed that for the Seattle Metro Area the “nones” or those with no religious affiliation composed 37% of the population while both Evangelical Protestants and Mainline Churches combined composed only 33%. Here are some more interesting statistics for the Seattle Metro Area:
Religion in one’s life: Very important 40% Somewhat important 21% Not too important 18% Not at all 21%
Worship Attendance: At least once a week 25% 1 or 2x/month or few times a year 31% Seldom/Never 44%
Prayer: At least daily 42% Weekly 11% Monthly 7% Seldom/Never 40%
Frequency of Meditation: At least once a week 35% 1 or 2 times a month 8% Several times a year 2% Seldom/Never 54%
Frequency of Feeling Spiritual Peace and Wellbeing: At least once a week 53% 1 or 2 times a month 13% Several times a year 16% Seldom/Never 18%
Oh, how the questions arise: I wonder what it means “feeling spiritual peace and wellbeing?” I also wonder what “meditation” means to 35% of the population. It is not surprising to me, but it is interesting that “religion in one’s life” seems to be “very important” to about 40% of the population, but attending worship regularly does not seem to very significant to the majority.
It is easy to look at all the life style issues that detract from regular worship, but maybe we also need to ask “What is there about how we do worship that is not meeting people where they are in their lives?”
I would love to hear feedback from people on some of these issues.
In the weeks ahead I want to scratch the surface of how we might grow deeper in our faith journeys rather than simply skimming the surface of faith. We will see where the Spirit leads in these blogs. I am eager to find out.