New Gallup Poll Shows Churchgoers Value Relevant, Scriptural Sermons, Notes American Pastors Network
What appeals most to churchgoers in 2017? A booming bass in the music? Colorful lights? Trendy references to pop culture?
Actually, it’s none of the above. A new Gallup poll recently found that sermon content is a major factor for today’s worshippers. The survey measured seven different reasons why those who attend a place of worship at least monthly do so, and about 75 percent responded that “sermons or talks that either teach about scripture or help people connect religion to their own lives as major factors spurring their attendance.”
The American Pastors Network says the poll is telling, as some churches try to entice particularly millennials with style over substance.
“It’s encouraging, especially to those of us who are pastors, that the people in the pews still long for sermons that are based in scripture and help them apply their faith to daily life,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “Oftentimes, pastors and churches get caught up in marketing to the masses, when really getting back to the basics is what churchgoers want. It is our duty to first preach the whole counsel of God, one of APN’s founding principles, and this poll shows that people want that biblical counsel, first and foremost.”
Over the past several months, APN has continued with the strong initiative to connect older biblically faithful pastors with millennial-aged biblically faithful pastors, realizing that each has something to offer the other.
“APN hopes to accomplish this new goal, which has received overwhelming support from pastors of all of ages, through mentoring, conferences, events and resources,” Rohrer added. “While the idea is still in its early stages, there is much passion and momentum behind it, and we feel God’s hand is upon this undertaking as well.”
The Gallup poll found that important factors to respondents include: sermons or talks that teach more about scripture (76%), sermons or lectures that help connect religion to everyday life (75%), spiritual programs geared toward children and teenagers (64%), community outreach and volunteer opportunities (59%), and dynamic religious leaders who are interesting and inspiring (54%). Two reasons garnered less than 50 percent from those surveyed: social activities that help get to know people in the community (49%) and a good choir, praise band, cantors or other spiritual music (38%).
Just yesterday I had several people affirm the value they personally place on strong biblical preaching over the other ingredients of typical church activities. To hear some, one would think it was music and/or relationships that drew them, but apparently it remains God’s Word, just as scripture tells us. I was gratified and humbled to be told that my preaching and teaching was done in a positive, honest, and practical way that spoke “the truth in love”.