Churchgoers Would Leave Over Doctrine

This issue could be a deal-breaker for more than half.

More than half (54 percent) of U.S. churchgoing Protestants surveyed said they would seriously consider finding a new church if their current one changed its doctrine. This exceeded even the share of churchgoers saying they would switch places of worship if they moved to a new residence (48 percent).

 

Churchgoers may complain about changes in the music or preaching style, but few would switch places of worship for those reasons, a new study from LifeWay Research reveals. However, people are less tolerant of changes in doctrine.

More than half (54 percent) of U.S. churchgoing Protestants surveyed said they would seriously consider finding a new church if their current one changed its doctrine. This exceeded even the share of churchgoers saying they would switch places of worship if they moved to a new residence (48 percent).

Only 12 percent would jump ship simply because a pastor left, and just 5 percent would leave over changes in music style. Other reasons people might consider shopping for a new church include a family member’s desire for change (10 percent); a difference in political views (9 percent); not feeling needed (6 percent); relational conflict (4 percent); and friends no longer attending (3 percent).

Most churchgoers say their beliefs are completely aligned (52 percent) or mostly aligned (42 percent) with their church’s teaching.

More than a third of churchgoers (35 percent) have attended their church for 10 to 24 years. Nearly 3 in 10 (27 percent) have attended the same place of worship for 25 years or more. Among Assemblies of God/Pentecostal adherents, 13 percent have attended their church for 25 years or more.

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