Majority of Protestant churchgoers do not attend alone: LifeWay

Getty Images/Exkalibur
Getty Images/Exkalibur

The vast majority of Protestant churchgoers in the United States do not attend alone, but rather go with family or friends, according to a new report by LifeWay Research.

In a report titled “Most Protestant Churchgoers Don’t Go to Church Alone” that was released Tuesday, LifeWay asked Protestant churchgoers who normally travels with them to church.

Eighty-one percent of respondents said they attend church with at least one other person, with options including spouse, children, grandchildren, other family, friend, or someone who lacks transportation.

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Respondents were allowed to select multiple options. The most common response was “my spouse,” with 54 percent of respondents selecting that option.

The next most common was “child/children” at 31 percent, followed by “another family member” at 18 percent, and “friend or acquaintance” at 11 percent.

Those who responded that they travel to church by themselves was 19 percent, with respondents aged 50 or older being more likely than respondents aged 18-34 to say they travel alone (23 percent vs. 13 percent).

LifeWay drew from an online survey conducted Sept. 20-27 of last year, which had a sample of 1,002 American Protestants who attend church at least once a month.

Other findings from the report included men being more likely than women to report attending worship with their spouse (64 percent vs. 46 percent), women being more likely than men to say their children travel with them (36 percent vs. 24 percent), and 3 percent of respondents reporting going to church with someone who lacks transportation.

“Many weeks, it’s hard enough for attendees to get themselves to church, so it’s not surprising few are stopping to pick up a neighbor,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, in a statement released with the report.

“The reality is, if every Christian driving or riding to church this week used the extra vehicle seats around them to bring other people, churches would likely not be able to contain the crowds.”

Last August, LifeWay released a report that found a majority of Protestant churchgoers believed they could “walk with God” without the need of other believers.

Sponsored by the Center for Church Revitalization at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the report found that 65 percent of Protestant churchgoers said they could walk with God without other Christians and 36 percent of respondents agreed strongly.

At the same time, however, the 2019 report also found that 75 percent of respondents felt they needed help from others with their walk of faith.

"The 'needing, yet not needing' responses demonstrate an internal turmoil of individuals desiring community, but not seeing the church as the place to have those needs met," said Kenneth Priest, interim director of the Center, at the time.

"Solo Christianity is an inward desire to seek after spiritual matters without the realization biblical community is what will fulfill the desire they are seeking.”

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