Pew Research Study Reports That Churchgoers Are Widely Mixed on Satisfaction With Sermons

Sermons are a distinctive feature of worship services among most of the various traditions of Christian churches. And while many churchgoers consider sermons a major element of the worship experience, satisfaction with sermons is widely mixed, Pew Research Center says in a report posted Jan 28 on its Fact Tank page.

In reporting on two related recent studies, Pew says, “there are differences by religious tradition in how satisfied churchgoers are with what they hear from the pulpit – as well as in the length and content of those sermons.”

In its 2019 opinion survey of 6,364 U.S. adults, Pew said that 90% of respondents who attend church services “at least a few times a year are satisfied with the sermons they hear.” Protestants, Pew reported, “are somewhat more satisfied than Catholics” with the sermons they hear.

In breaking down opinions of sermons, Pew said its survey found that 61 percent of evangelical Protestants (six-in-ten) say they are “very satisfied” with the messages. That’s almost double the 32 percent of evangelical respondents who said they are “somewhat satisfied,” according to Pew’s report.

Almost a third – 32 percent – of Catholic respondents, indicated they are “very satisfied” with sermons, which are formally referred to as the “homily” in the Catholic Mass, as well as in the worship traditions of Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Just over half – 52 percent – of Catholic respondents indicated they are “somewhat satisfied.” A higher percentage of Catholics – 15 percent – than Protestant respondents – 7 percent – say they are “not too” or “not at all” satisfied.

“It is unclear from the 2019 survey why churchgoers’ satisfaction in sermons differ,” Pew said.

Some clues about the levels of satisfaction in sermons among Christian faith and worship traditions may be found in Pew’s review of 49,719 sermons on video.

In its study The Digital Pulpit: A Nationwide Analysis of Online Sermons, Pew said that its analysis revealed variations of length and content among Christian groups.

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Source: Christian Headlines

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