Sermon Content Appeals to Most Church Goers

This recent Gallup poll lists what appeals most to Church goers in the US.

The top 3 reasons Catholics attend church are: 1) sermons are relevant to life; 2) spiritual programs for children & teens; and 3 - only 1 point lower than 2) sermons that explain Scripture.

If you are engaging the faithful and hopefully future faithful, this is very interesting and serves as a reminder to meet people where they are - faith needs to matter to their daily life.
  • Three in four worshippers say sermons a major factor in why they go
  • Youth programs, outreach and volunteer opportunities also important
  • Preferring to worship solo is main reason non-attenders eschew services
While the rank order of priorities is similar between members of the two Christian branches, Protestants (including those who identify as simply "Christian") attach much more importance than Catholics to the content of sermons, as well as to the quality of music.

Catholics and Protestants attach nearly the same levels of importance to the more social or pragmatic aspects of church, including access to youth programs, community outreach opportunities and social activities. However, Protestants are not significantly more likely than Catholics to care about the style of their religious leaders, saying the presence of dynamic leaders who are interesting or inspiring is a major factor. 

Overall, Catholics rate none of the factors as more important reasons for attending than do Protestants, suggesting that the latter group -- with dozens of denominations and branches of Protestantism to choose from -- may be more attuned to specific dynamics of what they prefer in their church experience than Catholics.

There is also information on why people stop going to church, too.

Preferring to worship on one's own tops the list at 44%, and just over a third say not liking organised religion is a major factor. These suggest not an antipathy to religion per se so much as a dislike of the group format.

More mid-level explanations -- those mentioned as major reasons by 16% to 22% -- include not finding the right church or other place of worship, not having enough time, not being sure which religion is right for them and not liking being asked for money when they attend.

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