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First-Time Church Visitors: New Study


According to The US Congregational Life Survey (2/17/14 from, two percent of worship attendees are visiting a particular congregation for the first time. What do they look like?

1. The largest age group of first-time visitors was between 25-44 years old and the average age was 41. The majority (54%) of first-time visitors were not married. And over 1 in 4 (27%) had never been married.

First-time visitors are typically younger people who are not necessarily married. Perhaps this indicates that they are in a life transition, or that they are looking for spiritual significance in their lives.

2. Slightly less than half of first-time visitors (48%) were attending services at another church before their visit; however; 52% were visiting a new church.

First-time visitors are attracted to new churches. This bolsters the significance and attractiveness of church plants. Often, new churches offer a freshness and vitality that older churches do not. (See the video, Why Plant Churches?)

3. 13% had never attended anywhere before their visit and another 15% said they had not attended another congregation for several years.

Non-believers and jaded Christians are still searching. We should never neglect this segment of the population by assuming that visitors are familiar with our worship styles or church “lingo”. And, we need to ramp up our evangelistic efforts to reach non-believers. This means serving people outside of our church “walls” and being involved more in our communities.


What other observations can you draw from this research?


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