What People Look for in Churches

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Americans evaluate churches based on their friendliness, children’s programs, worship music, sermons and pastors, according to the February Evangelical Leaders Survey. U.S. evangelical leaders were asked to list three criteria that Americans prioritize when choosing a church. While a variety of answers came in, 80 percent of the responses fell into the categories of friendliness (19 percent), children’s programs (19 percent), worship music (16 percent), sermons (14 percent) and pastors (12 percent).

Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), said, “The question asks why people choose a church. The answer is that there is no one answer. People choose churches for very different reasons. There are even differences in the most common answers—friendliness, children’s programs and worship music come in wide varieties.”

Pastors and church leadership teams who hope to reach their communities consider this question with regularity. One such pastor is William Bohline, lead pastor of …

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Christianity: Group or Solo?

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I can empathize with Anne Rice’s decision to quit the organized church. I really can. She makes some very valid points.

But I still wish she would find a small congregation or parish and make it her spiritual community. Nothing glitzy. Not a place where anybody claims to speak for God. Not a gathering that thinks it’s God’s favorite and everybody else stinks. But a small community of loving believers who will give and receive spiritual care. Grand Rapids pastor Jim Samra in The Gift of Church lists six reasons for two or more to gather as believers:

(1) Corporate worship allows believers to experience God’s presence in unique and powerful ways.
(2) The gathering provides a tangible demonstration of how God brings unity out of diversity.
(3) The gathered church provides believers with the opportunity for true community. Each person is needed, and his or her gifts benefit the …

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