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David T- Olson

Honest to Goodness Church Attendance

Dr. Charles Revis, Executive Minister, ABC of the Northwest

A popular notion that originates from George Barna is that 47% of Americans are church goers. Not according to David T. Olson. Having completed the most extensive study of church attendance in America, Olson challenges Barna's data. He has concluded that on any given Sunday the percentage of the population attending church in America is only 17.3%.

This number is far lower in the Northwest. Here are the percentages of the population attending a Christian church on any given weekend in the states that compose the ABC of the Northwest.

Montana - 16.9%
Washington - 13.3%
Idaho - 10.2%
Nevada - 9.4%
Utah - 2.9%

According to Olson's research the present trend indicates these percentages will continue downward. This tells me that we have a lot of work to do.

Using his findings Olson also makes a strong case for renewed efforts in church planting. He reasons that as established churches age they become increasingly ineffective in evangelism. Even if a few are able to buck the trend there is a critical need for new churches. Otherwise the church in America will fail to keep pace just with the increase in population size.

His insights are well worth sharing with your congregation and its leaders. You can find out more by checking out his web site at You can also read his book, The American Church in Crisis. The following video is a teaser for the more extensive DVD, "Where Are the People?" It's worth the seven minutes it takes to watch it.

2009 © Dr. Charles Revis, ABC Northwest
[This article is from Dr. Revis’ blog,]