1. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church””half of what the pollsters report.
While Gallup polls and other statisticians have turned in the same percentage””about 40% of the population””of average weekend church attendees for the past 70 years, a different sort of research paints quite a disparate picture of how many Americans attend a local church on any given Sunday.
Initially prompted to discover how church plants in America were really doing, Olson, director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church (covchurch.org), began collecting data in the late ’80s, gradually expanding his research to encompass overall attendance trends in the Church. In his study, he tracked the annual attendance of more than 200,000 individual Orthodox Christian churches (the accepted U.S. church universe is 330,000). To determine attendance at the remaining 100,000-plus Orthodox Christian churches, he used statistical models, which included multiplying a church’s membership number by the denomination’s membership-to-attendance ratio.