Useful Statistics:

  • "Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited." –Dr. Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
  • "Only two percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Ninety-eighty percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year." –Dr Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
  • “A study including more than 15,000 adults revealed that about two-thirds are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member and 56 percent from a friend or neighbor. The message is clear that the unchurched are open to conversations about church.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
  • “Four percent of formerly churched adults are actively looking for a church to attend regularly (other than their previous church). Six percent would prefer to resume attending regularly in the same church they had attended. The largest group, 62 percent, is not actively looking but is open to the idea of attending church regularly again.”–Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “Clearly we can encourage Christians to pray that the unchurched would sense God calling them back, but God works through His people." "The survey showed that many would respond to an invitation from a friend or acquaintance (41 percent), their children (25 percent) or an adult family member (25 percent).” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “The issue of affinity also surfaced in the responses. Thirty–five percent indicated that they would be inspired to attend church 'if I knew there were people like me there.'” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “Much to the surprise of the ‘Chicken Little' crowd, people are still going to church. And more people would attend if given one simple thing—an invitation.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research

The Unchurched Next Door, Dr. Thom Rainer:

  1. Most people come to church because of a personal invitation.
  2. 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives.
  3. The top "rational" reason adults seldom or never attend church is they don't agree with organized religion or what they preach (24 percent).


Outreach Magazine, Jan 2007, Thom Rainer and Sam Rainer:

  1. "Perhaps one of the most underestimated reasons people return to the church is that someone simply invited them back."
  2. The U.S. Church is in a general state of decline, with fewer than 20 percent regularly attending church. This suggests that 7.9 million people may be leaving churches annually–that's 150,000 each week!  Thom Rainer/Sam Rainer –Outreach Magazine
  3. More than 80 percent of the formerly churched do not have a strong belief in God, explaining why work and family are a higher priority than church. But would they be "too busy" to attend if they felt more welcome at church?


"Americans Open to Outreach from Churches": LifeWay Research

  1. "The study revealed that 63 percent of Americans are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member, and 56 percent are willing to receive it from friend or neighbor.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
  2. A majority (66 percent) of Americans are unwilling to receive information through an e-mail message, and 70 percent say e-mail would be ineffective in getting them to visit.
  3. “Americans wanting to find out more about God look to the Bible first (33 percent) but are willing to engage Christian friends and family members as well to discover more about God.” – Philip Nation
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LifeWay Research:

  1. The top two life situations that prompt adults to stop attending church include being "too busy" (19 percent) and the burden of "family/home responsibilities" (17 percent). The second most common category of reasons adults leave the church is "disenchantment with pastor/church"–this accounts for 37 percent of the formerly churched.
  2. "The most common motivation of those who would consider returning comes straight from the soul: "to bring me closer to God" (46 percent). Not surprisingly, this desire for an improved relationship with God is expressed primarily by those who still consider themselves Christians." – Scott McConnell

Formerly Churched: LifeWay Research

  1. Fewer than 1 in 5 formerly churched adults confess to being "a devout Christian with a strong belief in God" (19 percent) and a somewhat smaller number are wavering on Christianity (10 percent) or belief in God at all (6 percent).
  2. Younger adults are even more influenced by the power of the invitation. Approximately 60 percent of those 18–35 would consider returning to church if someone they knew asked them to come back.

Unchurched Study: LifeWay Research

  1. "Unchurched Americans Turned Off by Church, Open to Christians"
    LifeWay Research asked adults who had not attended a religious service in the last six months to indicate their beliefs about God and their opinions about Christians and the Church.  Their openness to discussing beliefs with a Christian provides evangelistic insight to the church.
  2. Unchurched Podcast
    Listen to the "Inside LifeWay" podcast interview as Ed Stetzer and Scott McConnell discuss the findings.

Church Dropout Study: LifeWay Research

  1. Reasons 18 to 22 Year-Olds Drop Out of Church
    Results from a recent LifeWay Research study uncover reasons 70 percent of young adults stop attending church for at least a year between ages 18 to 22.