(Article first published as Poll: Women Attendance and Involvement in Church Show Large Decline on Technorati)
I was reading something recently that I found interesting enough to want to share with you. The report, published last week, resulted from an analysis of 20 years of surveys that had been conducted by the Barna Group to profile differences between men and women in matters of their faith. The portion of the article that caught my attention focused on the involvement of women in the local church.
Why the interest? I have served as a church pastor for a period of twelve years, and I have been preaching for 30 years. The churches that I pastored were small (125 members or less), and they were located in the inner city. Without any hesitation, I say that small congregations such as the ones I pastored would have to shut down, if it were not for their women volunteers. By and large, they were the more spiritually passionate members and, hence, they were far more involved in the work of the local church than the men were.
Based on my initial personal experience with Christianity, I think some men are of the opinion that being a strong man is incompatible with being deeply spiritual. That is, some tend to view deeply spiritual men as humble pushovers, but that is not the case. Anyway, based on Barna’s report, the number of women in church and the magnitude of their passion for the Lord have been in decline the past 20 years. For instance, here are some of the findings:
- Church attendance among women declined 11% since 1991, down to 44%.
- Bible reading declined 10%, now down to 40%.
- Church volunteer activity among women declined 9%.
- The percentage of women who had become unchurched (had not attended a church worship service in at least 6 months) rose by a whopping 17%.
Interestingly, during the past twenty years addressed in Barna’s report, it has become increasingly acceptable for women to be ordained as preachers and to serve as church pastors in some denominations. Even with this increase in more visible roles for some women in the church, their attendance and involvement at large have declined greatly during the same period.
Copyright © 2011 by Frank King. All rights reserved.