How Does Your State Rank in Church Attendance?

A new Gallup poll offers some clues about Americans’ church attendance—and the sizeable difference depending on the state where you live.

Gallup asked 177,030 American adults, “How often do you attend church, synagogue or mosque—at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom or never?” It ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to how many responded that they attend religious services “at least once a week.”

Residents of Utah are most likely to attend a religious service weekly. According to Gallup, Utah owes its No. 1 ranking to Mormons, who “have the highest religious service attendance of any major religious group in the U.S.”

Utah is followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Residents of Vermont are least likely to attend church weekly, followed by New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington State. Gallup notes that the New England region reports the lowest levels of church attendance in the nation, with Connecticut and Rhode Island not far behind the rest of the region, at Nos. 10 and 17, respectively.

By Kate Scanlon – The Daily Signal –

The Rise of the “Done with Church” Population

….John had come to a long-considered, thoughtful decision. He said, “I’m just done. I’m done with church.”

John is one in a growing multitude of ex-members. They’re sometimes called the de-churched. They have not abandoned their faith. They have not joined the also-growing legion of those with no religious affiliation–often called the Nones. Rather, John has joined the Dones.

At Group’s recent Future of the Church conference, sociologist Josh Packard shared some of his groundbreaking research on the Dones. He explained these de-churched were among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations. To an increasing degree, the church is losing its best.

For the church, this phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support, are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact that younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the emptying pews.

Why are the Dones done? Packard describes several factors in his upcoming book, Church Refugees (Group). Among the reasons: After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all. One of Packard’s interviewees said, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”

The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.

Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to the research. They’re done. Packard says it would be more fruitful if churches would focus on not losing these people in the first place. Preventing an exodus is far easier than attempting to convince refugees to return.

Pastors and other ministry leaders would benefit from asking and listening to these long-time members, before they flee. This will require a change of habit. When it comes to listening, church leaders are too often in the habit of fawning over celebrity pastors for answers. It would be far more fruitful to take that time and spend it with real people nearby–existing members. Ask them some good questions, such as:

•Why are you a part of this church?
•What keeps you here?
•Have you ever contemplated stepping away from church? Why or why not?
•How would you describe your relationship with God right now?
•How has your relationship with God changed over the past few years?
•What effect, if any, has our church had on your relationship with God?
•What would need to change here to help you grow more toward Jesus’ call to love God and love others?

….The exodus of the Dones, the rise of the Nones, and the disappearance of the Millennials do not look good for a church afraid to listen.

It’s not too late to start.

By Thom Schultz – Holy Soup –

Paris march draws over 1 in 20 of France

Estimates for Sunday’s Paris march attendance have soared higher, with some outlets reporting as many as 3 million people swarmed the heart of the French capital to support free speech.

The Associated Press reported that around France, up to 3.7 million people marched on Sunday — which could mean more than 1 in 20 French, 5.6 percent of the nation’s population, had taken a public stand.

What do those numbers mean in context?

Sunday’s march was enormously larger than some of America’s biggest protests — even more so when you account for the size of the country.

Given France’s population of 66 million, 1.5 million marchers could mean nearly 2.5 percent of the entire country’s population participated in the march — though plenty of foreigners converged on the French capital to rally as well.

10 Signs Your Church Has Been Secularized

The Bible teaches that the church is supposed to influence the world as salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16), but instead the church has often been influenced by the world. Ezekiel 22:26 sends a stern rebuke to believers who make no distinction between that which is common and that which is holy (by common we mean worldly things and values) in this article the word secular refers to worldly rather than holy and set apart for God’s purposes:

Truly any congregation that has no distinction from the world is close to extinction! The reason so many evangelical churches have grown so rapidly is not necessarily because of a true spiritual revival but because of cultural accommodation. The following are 10 signs your church has been secularized:

1) They preach only what is popular and avoid what is culturally controversial.

Often secularized pastors stay away from preaching on the standards of biblical morality so as to stay in the societal mainstream and avoid offending visitors. The result is a membership that only hears a partial gospel without the power to renew minds which leaves them as secular saints….

8) The congregation espouses a culture of entertainment more than biblical discipleship.

When the primary objective of a congregation is to attract crowds on Sunday by giving them an “experience” rather than making committed disciples, then they have espoused a culture of entertainment and have been secularized.

9) The congregation espouses a culture of opulent greed and narcissism instead of sacrifice and giving.

If the preaching appeals to the narcissistic desire of using faith for personal affluence more than the biblical call to surrender and sacrifice all for the Lord, then that congregation has been secularized.

10) If Jesus is only presented as a personal Savior rather than Lord of all.

When folks only want Jesus to save them without transforming them, they have been secularized. When Jesus is continually presented in a church only as a personal Savior without the injunction for all people to surrender to His Lordship, then that congregation is focused on individual salvation more than on the glory of God. Secular humanism is all about centering life upon the needs and desires of autonomous humanity without any concern or submission to the Creator God.

By Joseph Mattera – Charisma News –

Survey: Of Regular Church Attenders, Few Tempted To Skip Worship For Football

LifeWay survey results seem to confound the belief of some pastors that cancelling services on game day is in the church’s best interest.

Each football season, weekend game schedules clash with church service times to create a tug-of-war between piety and pastime.

In an effort to compensate, at least a few churches throughout the U.S. abridge, reschedule, or even cancel services set to coincide with particularly popular games.

Ahead of the 2014 Super Bowl, in which the Seattle Seahawks played, one pastor in nearby Edmonds, Wash., explained the rationale behind closing the doors of his church for the corresponding service.

“I think that the main thing behind it is we can’t take ourselves too seriously,” Barry Crane asserted. “This is twice in Seattle Seahawks history that they’ve made it to the Super Bowl. Just because you go to church normally on a Sunday doesn’t mean you’re immune to fun.”

Judging from the results of a recent survey conducted by Christian retailer LifeWay, however, some pastors might be overestimating the appeal of ditching church to watch football.

Churchgoing respondents were asked to reply with four possible answers to the statement, “I would skip a weekly worship service to watch my favorite football team.”

Only five percent stated that they strongly agreed with the statement, while 10 percent expressed partial agreement. The overwhelming majority – 68 percent – strongly disagreed with the idea, an opinion bolstered by 15 percent who somewhat disagreed. Only two percent of those surveyed were not sure how they felt.

By B. Christopher Agee – Western Journalism –