By Bob Smietana, LifeWay.
Americans who don’t go to church are happy to talk about religion and often think about the meaning of life.
They’re open to taking part in community service events hosted at a church or going to a church concert.
But only about a third say they’d go to a worship service, if invited by a friend. Few think about what happens after they die.
Those are among the findings of a new online survey of 2,000 unchurched Americans from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. The survey, conducted in partnership with the Wheaton, Illinois-based Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, found more than half of Americans who don’t go to church identify as Christians.
But they are mostly indifferent to organized religion, says Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
“Unchurched Americans aren’t hostile to faith,” he says. “They just don’t think church is for them.”
Talking about faith isn’t taboo
For this survey, “unchurched” means those who have not attended a worship service in the last six months, outside of a holiday or special occasion like a wedding.
Among their characteristics:
- Two-thirds (67 percent) are white
- Just over half (53 percent) are male
- About half (47 percent) have a high school diploma or less
- Almost two-thirds (62 percent) went to church regularly as a child
- About a third (32 percent) consider themselves nonreligious
- One in 5 identifies as Protestant, 1 in 4 as Catholic
Few are turned off by conversations about faith, says McConnell.