Sunday Morning Worship Attendance Patterns

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saturneptune, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    This is just an opinion thread, and does not require the interjection of Calvin. When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, and was attending a PCA church right next to a large Baptist Church, the patterns were pretty much the same. There would be throughout the year a certain number of regular faithful members attend every Sunday. Then, the Sunday before Christmas, or on Easter, the population would increase by some 30%, to fall back the next Sunday.

    Over the last several years, I have noticed just the opposite. The Sunday before Christmas and at Easter, there is a marked decrease in the number of members attending. This really puzzles me. Not that I think those coming at Christmas and Easter only was the right thing to do, but I am at a loss to explain the decrease. Any ideas???
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I have a lot of ideas about that but would like to ask you 1st if you feel that your observations are relevant to the entire country or only the NE where you live & can observe first hand?

    BTW....Merry Christmas to you & yours.
     
  3. saturneptune

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    Well, where I grew up in Mississippi is considered the deep South, and Kentucky, while not the South, is very similar. Maybe there is an element of the location. It is just very strange. And Merry Christmas to you and your family.
     
  4. ashleysdad

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    I have lived in Peoria IL, just outside Flint Michigan (where I grew up) and currently live in the Panhandle of Florida. Based on what I see here in Florida those observations would seem to be correct. When I was a kid we would always have a special service on Christmas whether it was a Sunday or not and The same was true for Easter (usually some kind of cantata in the morning and then a really good resurrection service in the evening). Now, based on what I see even at my own church, we cancel evening services on Easter Sunday, we cancel evening services on Mothers day and Fathers day. It just seems like there is a push to not have services on holidays. Of course it is hard to have services when half of the congregation is gone. The funny (awesome?) I am the youth director at my church and there have been times when the services have been cancelled and the youth will call me and ask if we can have church anyway. Personally I feel that people (including Christians) are tired of church and I believe that is because for a lot of people the church is afar cry from what it is supposed to be.
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Well I can only speak for my backyard SN.....NJ, NY & to some extent Pennsylvania. They are dominated by Catholics. By their sacramental doctrine, it is a sin not to go to church & quite a serious sin at that because they tie it back to the 4th commandment to remember the sabbath & keep it holy.....that being sin its a mortal sin. However these things dont get stressed like when I was a lad so invariably get ignored.

    Protestants here are mostly liberal in character (United Methodists, PCUSA, Episcopal & Lutheran). In these groups, the elderly & the 30 sometings (with families) lead the procession of Sunday go to meeting types. & when there kids go off on their own, they mostly stop going.

    In both cases, I personally dont believe the church has much to offer. Certainly not excitement & enthusiasm about the great commission. I think people are frankly tired of our ideas and theologies....tired of our lazy church services. They are no longer going to believe ideas, but they will believe love.
     
    #5 Earth Wind and Fire, Dec 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2012
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Yes well personally I am an advocate for smaller & more intimate churches. May I ask why you moved from your home in Michigan to Florida?
     
  7. annsni

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    My guess is that families are more spread out and end up traveling for the holiday rather than staying home.

    Growing up, we saw family nearby. My grandparents would stay with us so that they could be here early for Christmas morning with the grandchildren. Extended family all lived within an hour of us in either direction. Any family that lived far away we just didn't see because traveling was cost prohibitive.

    Now it seems that so many are traveling away to see family. Everyone is so spread out and so they just aren't around. I can safely say that anyone who was not at our church this morning (which turned out to be a high attendance day with 57 people), they were traveling to see family.
     
  8. Mexdeaf

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    That would go for us here in S. Texas also. Many of our folks were gone to see family this morning.
     
  9. Tom Bryant

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    We have bigger sundays on Easter and also, the fall back time change sunday. But Christmas is about even the entire month. What we lose by people going up north to visit family, we gain in people visiting their family down here.

    Now the Sunday between Christmas and New Years is a disaster both in attendance and giving. :eek: If I could get away with it, I'd give everyone a Sunday off. ;)
     
  10. just-want-peace

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    I tend to agree.
    If my unscientific observations are correct, probably 30-40% of the members are missing due to travel, while maybe 10% of those that COME to visit make it to the services.
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Yea I had forgotten the liberal attitude our churches have about going. Travling was never an excuse for my mom & grandmother. They made church an ultimate priority & planned for it in the scheduling. They would never have dreamed of missing church.
     
  12. drfuss

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    We used to look forward to going to our Easter and Christmas services. They always had special music and programs. However, since our church went to contemporary music, dress, etc., we go to the Christmas and Easter "gatherings" mostly out of obligation. Remembering the wonderful services we used to have, we usually leave church disappointed because we remember the way it used to be on Christmas and Easter.

    I suspect attendance is average around Christmas and Easter because special traditional Christmas and Easter services are not available is many churches. Also, there are good Christmas and Easter services on TV.
     
  13. annsni

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    We are all contemporary but we do an amazing Christmas Eve service. It's always the reading of the birth of Christ but interspersed through the reading is special music/drama/congregational singing. It's a beautiful, respectful time of reflection and joy.
     
  14. drfuss

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    I see from your post #7, that you have a small church which is probably relatively new. It is the older, larger churches that used to draw the large attendance on Christmas and Easter. People who normally do not attend church, would attend for the special Christmas and Easter services reflecting back to the church traditions they were brought up with. Many non-church people have come to today's Christmas and Easter services expecting good traditional music, and are disappointed. The next year they don't return to the Christmas and Easter services, i.e. the drop in attendance on special days.
     
  15. annsni

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    Our church is actually a larger church with 2 campuses - and I was talking to Icono about our particular campus because he visited us once so I got to meet him - and he got to see our work there. :)

    I'll see tonight how our attendance is compared to past years. I expect today will be about as big as we've had as the past.
     
  16. dh1948

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    My experience has been that on holiday Sundays, including Christmas and Thanksgiving, our church has a significant drop in attendance. The very opposite was true 35 years ago. It is what it is, so I don't get upset over it. Roll with the punches!
     
  17. drfuss

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    Speaking of tonight, our church has a contempory Christmas Eve "gathering" at 4PM which fits in well with our annual family Christmas Eve get together. Years ago, the family used to go the the 4PM service and then come back to our home to celebrate. About 4 or 5 years ago, they changed it to contemporary music (drum, guitar, etc.) with mostly songs unknown to us. After going to the 4PM contemporary service two years in a row and coming home dissappointed, we just skip Christmas Eve church as we are doing tonight. So we are about 8 people that stopped attending the Christmas Eve function due to not having the traditional Christmas music. Many of our friends also skip tonight for the same reason.
     
  18. Mexdeaf

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    We will likely have 2,500-3,000 people come to our service tonight. Some traditional music, some contemporary, the Lord's Supper and candle-lighting. We call it "4C"- Candles, Carols, Communion and Christ.

    Our Deaf group will be very small, though. Most will either go with their families to the Catholic churches or they are gone to Mexico.
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    What no Cake???
     
  20. Mexdeaf

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    That's AFTER the service. :)
     

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