Do you sometimes miss out on Sunday morning worship services because you have to work? You’re not alone, and the church is taking notice.
About one in four Protestant churchgoers who have a job are required to work on Sunday mornings at least once a month, according to a new Lifeway Research survey.
The study found most churchgoers aren’t faced with a job preventing them from gathering with their church on Sunday mornings. Two in five (41%) say their job never requires them to work on Sunday, and another 36% say they do not have a job.
Of the 23% who are required to work on Sunday morning, 5% have to work that time each week; 6%, twice a month or more; 4%, once a month; 5%, a few times a year; and 2%, once a year or less
Among churchgoers who have a job, 64% never have to work on Sunday mornings; yet more than a third (36%) are required to at least occasionally clock in during those hours. For 8%, their job requires them to work every Sunday morning. Another 10% work at that time twice a month or more; 7%, once a month; 7%, a few times a year; and 4%; once a year or less.
While larger churches may be more likely to offer non-traditional times for worship services, those who attend smaller churches are more likely to work occasionally on Sunday mornings. Those who attend a church of less than 50 people (28%), a church of 50 to 99 people (33%), and a church of 100 to 249 people (25%) are more likely than those who attend a church of 500 people or more (12%) to say they work at least once a month on Sunday morning.
Opportunities for outreach
Such statistics regarding churchgoers working on Sunday mornings offer outreach opportunities for churches.
“When a local body of believers cannot all meet together, it is missing out on its purpose,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “While a traditional Sunday morning meeting time works for most, it isn’t possible for all to attend.”
Joby Martin, lead pastor of The Church of Eleven22 in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, said churches have a unique opportunity to reach this demographic by offering a service on a different day of the week. His church holds a service on Thursdays.
“Because of other things happening at the church at the time, Thursday night was the only option available,” Martin said. “It was an accident, but God breathed on it like crazy.”
Church members embraced the idea of a new service, he added.
“Our people,” Martin said, “are very excited to open more opportunities for more people to hear the gospel.”
The poll was based on a survey of 1,002 American Protestant churchgoers.
–From Lifeway Research