We preachers always knew sermons were important to church visitors, but now we have the data to prove it!
The Pew Research Center recently released the results of a survey of 5,000 Americans about whether they have ever changed churches and, if so, how they search for a new church. And the number one factor cited by respondents? Quality of sermons. (Drop the mic.)
The Pew report said: “Among U.S. adults who have ever looked for a new house of worship, about eight-in-ten say the quality of sermons (83%) or feeling welcomed by clergy and lay leaders (79%) played an important role in their choice. Most also cite the style of services (74%) and the location (70%) as important factors to consider when choosing a new congregation. And, overall, 56% say the quality of religious education for children played an important role in their decision. Among those who currently have children under 18, however, two-thirds (65%) say the quality of educational programs for children was an important factor.” (Read the full story.)
So as you prepare your sermon for this Sunday, remember: there may be a visitor out there waiting just to hear you!
Michael Duduit is founding Dean of the College of Christian Studies and the Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University. He also serves as Professor of Christian Ministry. He is the founder and still serves as Executive Editor of Preaching magazine, one of the nation’s premier publications for pastors. His email newsletter, Preaching Now, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences. He is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, Joy in Ministry: Messages from Second Corinthians, Preaching with Power: Dynamic Insights from Twenty Top Communicators and Communicate With Power.