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1 2 The Unchurched and Southern Baptists in America Unchurched are Younger, More Male and Ethnically Diverse, Less Married Source: Barna Research Group,

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Presentation on theme: "1 2 The Unchurched and Southern Baptists in America Unchurched are Younger, More Male and Ethnically Diverse, Less Married Source: Barna Research Group,"— Presentation transcript:

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3 2 The Unchurched and Southern Baptists in America Unchurched are Younger, More Male and Ethnically Diverse, Less Married Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), So. Baptists (n=300). *Not a percentage.

4 3 Psychographic Profile of the Unchurched A Significant Number of Unchurched Individuals Have Some Church Experience. Many Describe Themselves as Born-Again, Committed Christians Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), Southern Baptists (n=300). *Not a self-description; person has made a commitment to Christ that is still important in their life today, and he/she believes they will go to heaven because they have confessed sins and accepted Christ as savior. n/a

5 4 Baptists Tend To Be Concentrated In The South Unchurched and Churched Are More Regionally Dispersed Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), Churched (n=401), Non-SBC Baptists (n=100), So. Baptists (n=300).

6 5 Top-of-Mind Awareness of Religious Affiliations Among All Adults Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Q1:...What types of church denominations…come to mind? Top-of-Mind (Unaided) Awareness of Denomination / Religion

7 6 Top-of-Mind Awareness of Religious Affiliations Among the Unchurched Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Q1:...What types of church denominations…come to mind? Top-of-Mind (Unaided) Awareness of Denomination / Religion

8 7 Awareness of the Southern Baptist Brand Southern Baptists Have Relatively High Awareness Among Non-Baptists, But 2 Out of 5 Unchurched Have Never Heard of Southern Baptists Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), Churched (n=401), Non-SBC Baptists (n=100). Note: totals may appear incorrect due to rounding. Q4: What specific types of Baptist church... denominations are you aware of? Southern Baptist Awareness: *Note: 76% of SBC Sr. Pastors think that most unchurched adults have heard of Southern Baptist churches (Q14).

9 8 Most People Are Not Aware of Any Differences Between Southern and Other Baptists Majority of Baptists and Over Two Thirds of Non-Baptists Cannot Cite Any Q6: Are you aware of any differences at all between Southern Baptist and other Baptist churches? Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), Churched (n=401), Non-SBC Baptist (n=100), So. Baptist (n=300).

10 9 % Adults 18+ Q1A/8:...Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Baptist churches? Two Out of Three Adults (65%) Have Favorable Impressions of Baptist Churches Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99.

11 10 Impressions of Baptist Churches The Vast Majority of Non-Baptists Have Either Favorable or Unformed Opinions of Baptist Churches Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Q1A/8:...Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Baptist churches? % Adults 18+

12 11 Among the Unchurched, Baptists Are Viewed About The Same As Other Large Denominations But 1 Out 3 Have Never Heard of Or Have No Opinion of Baptists % Unchurched Adults 18+ Q1A: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of the ___________church? Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601).

13 12 % Unchurched Adults 18+ Q1A/8:...Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Baptist churches? Recent History Demonstrates Little Change in Unchurched Impressions of the Baptist Church But More Are Unsure of Their Opinions Today vs. 8 Years Ago Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601). *Previous Barna Research national survey.

14 13 % Adults 18+ Q1A/8:...Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Baptist churches? More Unchurched People Hold Unfavorable Views of Baptist Churches Than Churched People But Only 1 Out of 6 Unchurched Has an Unfavorable Impression Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), Churched (n=401)

15 14 % Adults 18+ Aware of SBC, Diff. Betw. SBC, Other Baptists Q8/15:...Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Southern Baptist churches?* Half of SBC Pastors Think the Unchurched Hold Unfavorable Impressions of So. Baptist Churches But Only 1 Out of 3 Unchurched Aware of SBC Actually Feel That Way Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), SBC Pastors (n=401). *Pastors were asked whether they thought Unchurched had favorable or unfavorable impressions of Southern Baptist churches. Note: Excludes those unaware of SBC or differences between Southern and other Baptists.

16 15 Dissecting Peoples Favorable Opinions n Personal experience influences opinions n Among the Unchurched who held a very favorable impression of Baptist churches, three quarters said that one reason for their positive impression was that they had been raised as Baptist, they knew Baptist individuals, or had attended a Baptist church at one time

17 16 Dissecting Peoples Favorable Opinions n Among those presently attending a Southern Baptist church, the two most common reasons behind their positive impressions were personal experience (72%) and affinity for the beliefs of Baptists (62%)

18 17 Dissecting Peoples Unfavorable Opinions n Among individuals who had very unfavorable opinions of Baptist churches, Baptists extreme views on political, social or theological issues were the major factors

19 18 Dissecting Peoples Unfavorable Opinions n Many of these individuals said that Baptists do not seem to accept other people n They described Baptists as closed- minded, hypocritical, overly conservative and forceful. In their minds, Baptist churches were too pushy or intimidating

20 19 Bottom Line n Many adults in the U.S. do not think about or concern themselves much with the differences between denominations. Especially among the Unchurched, the prevailing perspective seems to be a church is a church is a church. n Overall consumer impressions of Southern Baptist Churches are soft. A large proportion of consumers describe their impressions and attitudes as only somewhat favorable/unfavorable or neutral

21 20 n The Unchurched and non-Christians are four times more likely than SBC Pastors and Attenders to view SBC churches as out of touch with the times Key Differences

22 21 n The Unchurched are nine times more likely than SBC Pastors and 61% more likely than SBC Attendees to describe SBC churches as judgmental Key Differences

23 22 n SBC Attenders were six times more likely than Pastors to perceive that SBC churches are judgmental n Roughly 6 out of 10 adults (total sample) said that SBC churches are judgmental Key Differences

24 23 Perceptual Portrait of Southern Baptists Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Total sample (n=1402). Q12/17: …Do you think that the phrase __________ accurately describes the people who attend Southern Baptist churches?...

25 24 Southern Baptists Are Perceived As… % Adults 18+ Saying Very Accurately (top box) Q12/17: …Do you think that the phrase __________ accurately describes the people who attend Southern Baptist churches?...* A Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), So. Baptists(n=300), SBC Pastors(n=401). *SBC Pastors were asked how well phrase describes people that attend their own church (Q17).

26 25 Southern Baptists Are Perceived As… % Adults 18+ Saying Very Accurately (top box) Q12/17: …Do you think that the phrase __________ accurately describes the people who attend Southern Baptist churches?...* B Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), So. Baptists(n=300), SBC Pastors(n=401). *SBC Pastors were asked how well phrase describes people that attend their own church (Q17).

27 26 Southern Baptists Are Perceived As… % Adults 18+ Saying Very Accurately (top box) Q12/17: …Do you think that the phrase __________ accurately describes the people who attend Southern Baptist churches?...* C Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601), So. Baptists(n=300), SBC Pastors(n=401). *SBC Pastors were asked how well phrase describes people that attend their own church (Q17).

28 27 n An adult who had not attended a worship service in a Christian church within the past six months, other than for a special event, such as a wedding, funeral or holiday service Definition of the Unchurched

29 28 n The Unchurched adult population represents only about 3 out of 10 (31%) adults in the U.S. n This projects to about million adults (a number greater than the populations of France, England or Canada) Size of the Unchurched Population

30 29 n Nearly half (46%) used to be regular attenders of a Christian church n Over one quarter (26%) claim to be born- again Christians n One in four (39%) describe themselves as committed Christians n One third (35%) indicated they had visited a Southern Baptist church at least once n One in four (40%) say they know someone who is a Southern Baptist The Unchurched

31 30 n The born-again Unchurched segment represents some 16 million adults (If this number were evenly distributed across the 300,000 U.S. Protestant congregations that exist today, each church would receive an average of 53 adults. That would double the size of roughly half the churches in America.) (If this number were evenly distributed across the 300,000 U.S. Protestant congregations that exist today, each church would receive an average of 53 adults. That would double the size of roughly half the churches in America.) The Unchurched

32 31 Key Reasons Why the Unchurched Avoid Churches: No Time, Disinterest, Not Relevant Many SBC Pastors Presume Correctly Q17/12:...What is the primary reason you do not currently attend a Christian church?* Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. *Pastors asked primary reason they think Unchurched dont attend. Note: Excludes Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses, Scientologists (all may consider themselves Christian). (Sorted by % Unchurched) Unchurched Religious Background

33 32 n 15% of the Unchurched said they will definitely attend a Christian church within the next 3 months or so n An additional 23% said they will probably attend a Christian church within the next 3 months or so n Even if this is overestimated, there is positive interest in visiting a Christian church in the near future among several million Unchurched people Likelihood of The Unchurched Visiting a Church

34 33 n There are few virgin Unchurched adults; most have experienced Christian churches first-hand in the past n Southern Baptists must deal with the perceptual baggage that past negative or unproductive experiences have created Bottom Line

35 34 Important Factors In Visiting / Evaluating a Church Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Note: Excludes those who would definitely not visit a Christian church. 1 Among those Unchurched with children under 18, 68% feel the quality of the childrens programs is extremely or pretty important. Q20/25, 20:...How important would_____be in your decision of what church you would visit / attend?* (Sorted by % Unchurched - Top 5) Unchurched Religious Background

36 35 n Attracting the Unchurched to SBC churches will take a significant shift in direction for Southern Baptists n The Unchurched are looking to see the Church show its faith by its works Bottom Line

37 36 Most Effective Ways to Encourage the Unchurched to Attend a Church Q19/18:...Suppose that you_____. Would that make you more...or less likely to visit that church...?* Source: Barna Research Group, 5/99. Unchurched (n=601). (Sorted by % More Likely)

38 37 n While awareness of Baptist and Southern Baptist brands is high, it is essentially empty awareness, name recognition without any substantive understanding of what the brands represent Conclusions

39 38 n Overall imagery for the Southern Baptist Church is not negative, it is essentially undefined n Southern Baptist Leaders, i.e. pastors, have over estimated image issues for Southern Baptists Conclusions

40 39 n Southern Baptist Church members are perceived as strengths to the brand image. They are positively perceived as being: n sincere about their faith n friendly n open n compassionate n middle class n logical Conclusions

41 40 n Most Unchurched adults indicate little interest in what churches have to offer. They are not negative toward churches, they just dont think about attending. Conclusions

42 41 n Unchurched Baptists emerge as perhaps the easiest of the Unchurched groups to persuade to return to church n It will not be an easy sell, but it will be an easier sell than with other Unchurched adults Conclusions

43 42 n Prospective church members are looking for a strong product: –People who care for each other –A worship/ministry product that is relevant –Not a friendly church, but a place to make friends Conclusions

44 43 n The greatest challenges facing Southern Baptist churches include: - Creating a ministry that is distinctive - Creating a ministry that is consumer relevant - Getting on the radar screen of the Unchurched - Getting on the radar screen of the Unchurched - Effectively motivating and mobilizing their greatest assets, members of Southern Baptist churches - Effectively motivating and mobilizing their greatest assets, members of Southern Baptist churches Conclusions

45 44 A Word of Wisdom... It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. Proverbs 19:2 (NIV) © Copyright 1999,North American Mission Board SBC

46 Research by George Barna Copy right NAMB, 2000 For more information: Dr. John P. Chandler


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