I’m sure many would object to my use of the term “fanatic” to describe the outcome of a recent study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, but that description truly captures the essence of the data, which are that conservative churches in the United States, such as the Southern Baptist and the Church of Christ, have the highest and most consistent attendence records.
This, no doubt, would be a point of pride for the Baptist minister, especially in light of the data which show moderate and liberal churches, such as Episcopalians and Methodists, have poorer attendence records and less consistency.
The average attendance of a Methodist church of nearly 1,900 members was 47%. Conversly, the average attendance of a Southern Baptist church of nearly 2,800 members was 85%!
Secular holidays and inclement weather had the lowest church attendance across the board, with the best attendance being religious holidays, especially Easter. Interestingly enough, Mother’s Day had a slightly higher attendance than Father’s Day.
But, overall, fewer conservatives were absent during either secular holidays or inclement weather than moderate and liberal churches.
- Olson, Paul J. (2008). Any Given Sunday: Weekly Church Attendance in a Midwestern City. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47(3), 443-461. [↩]