Study: Bigger Churches Equal Less Engaged Church Members

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The larger the church, the less likely its members will attend weekly services, a new Duke University study finds.

“People have an increasing detachment from religious organizations, and, somewhat counter intuitively, mega- are a reflection of that,” said David Eagle, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke’s Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research.

“These churches are really large – with more than 2,000 people in attendance. By nature they are more anonymous places – your comings and goings aren’t noticed from week to week and you may not face the same encouragement—or pressure—to attend as in a smaller church,” Eagle said.

The study has just appeared in Socius – a journal of the American Sociological Association.

Across the religious spectrum, Eagle’s study found a reverse correlation between church size and attendance of its members. For example: about 40 percent of members of white, mainline protestant churches with a membership of 50 people attended services each week. But at a far larger white, mainline Protestant church of 10,000 members, just about 25 percent attend weekly services.

Small, black protestant churches of 50 members reported a 50 percent rate of weekly attendance, the study found. But at a far larger church of 10,000 members, just 40 percent of members attended weekly.

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SOURCE: Eric Ferreri 
Phys.org