March 25, 2014 — What, if anything, helps Americans grow in their faith? When Barna Group asked, people offered a variety of answers—prayer, family or friends, reading the Bible, having children—but church did not even crack the top-10 list.

Although church involvement was once a cornerstone of American life, U.S. adults today are evenly divided on the importance of attending church. While half (49%) say it is “somewhat” or “very” important, the other 51% say it is “not too” or “not at all” important. The divide between the religiously active and those resistant to churchgoing impacts American culture, morality, politics and religion.

Looking to future generations does not paint an optimistic picture for the importance of churchgoing. Millennials (those 30 and under) stand out as least likely to value church attendance; only two in 10 believe it is important. And more than one-third of Millennial young adults (35%) take an anti-church stance. In contrast, Elders (those over 68) are the most likely (40%) to view church attendance as “very” important, compared to one-quarter (24%) who deem it “not at all” important. Boomers (ages 49—67) and Gen Xers (ages 30—48) fall in the middle of these polar opposites. While the debate rages about what will happen to Millennials as they get older—Will they return to church attendance later in life?—they are starting at lower baseline for church participation and commitment than previous generations of young adults.

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One Response to Americans Divided on the Importance of Church

  1. Robert Cuminale says:

    That few Millenials will attend church in the future is no shocker. Look to the adults over them. How many no longer see same sex marriage as wrong? How many believe the government is the source of what used to be common or natural law? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? If only we could ask the aborted. Or those enslaved to government social programs and Libertines whose happiness is assured by it no matter who it harms.
    The Millenials have absorbed the mores of their parents and teachers who got it from the Boomers. It’s a downward spiral and it seems to be increasing in speed.
    In the future we may at last believe that Calvinists are right. Few are called and perhpas we will see the end we’ve awaited since Christ ascended.