By Deborah Bruce
True or False: Most worshipers attend with a spouse. False. While it might seem as though your sanctuary is filled with couples worshiping together, only half of worshipers overall attend with a spouse or partner.
Let’s look just at worshipers who are married (66% are), since they’re most likely to attend with a spouse or partner. Overall, only three in ten married worshipers (30%) attend without their spouse.
True or False: Women are more likely than men to worship without their spouse. True. Four in ten married women (38%) attend worship without their spouse. Among married men, only two in ten (21%) come to church without their spouse. This difference helps drive the fact that there are more women in the pews than men. (Read Where do Men Go to Church? Seven Misconceptions.)
True or False: Having children at home doesn’t have much impact on attending alone. True. One-third of married worshipers with children living at home (32%) attend worship alone, and almost as many married worshipers without kids at home (29%) attend alone.
True or False: Younger worshipers are more likely to worship without their spouse. True. In general, older people are more likely to come to worship with a spouse. About three in ten of those under the age of 65 (31%) attend worship without their spouse, but only one-quarter of those who are aged 65 or older (26%) attend alone.
True or False: Catholics are more likely to worship without their spouse. True. Married Catholics are more likely to come without a spouse (34%) than are married worshipers in mainline (27%) or conservative (24%) Protestant churches.
What can your congregation do to encourage those partners and spouses who aren’t coming to worship to give it a try?