The Barna Group recently released the findings of a 20-year study that showed that more and more women are opting to skip church on Sunday mornings.

The survey, which studied the churchgoing tends of women from 1991 to 2011, found that church attendance among women dropped 11 percent over the last two decades. Today only 44-percent of women attend church regularly. The study also found that fewer women are reading the Bible (down from 50 to 40-percent) and volunteering at church.

So, why study the churchgoing habits of women and not both sexes? Traditionally women have made up the majority of parishioners. Furthermore, women tend to set the religious values for their household. So if they attend church, their husbands and children are more likely to attend as well.

Although the statics may be sobering to some, some church officials are not shocked.

“While sobering, the findings of this survey are not surprising, and I would agree with Barna’s appraisal,” Rev. Paul Rock, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, told the Kansas City Star.

“Since women still tend to define many family traditions, a drop-off in women means a drop-off in men and children as well. So this is a significant change in American culture that most churches have not adapted to well.

“I don’t think God is worried, but I do think God is waiting for churches to wake up and respond to the reality of women’s lives today,” he said.

Some of the factors contributing to the decline of women attending church are career demands, the lack of equality seen in many churches, and sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

Other findings from the survey include:

•Although the majority of women, 63 percent, still say their faith is important to them, that number has dropped by six percent.

•Only 42 percent of women (down seven percent) believe the Bible is comepletely accurate.

•The percentage of women who believe God is  “all-knowing, all-powerful and perfect Creator of the universe who still rules the world today” dropped from 80 percent in 1991 to 70 percent in 2011.

This study serves as a wake-up call to churches who have relied on women throughout the years. If they do not want to continue to see fewer and fewer women attending church, they need to make a greater effort to adapt to their needs.


What do you think of the study? Do you attend church regularly? Why or why not?

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  • Alexandra

    My mother made me and my siblings go to church every Sunday when I was young.

    But I made the decision to stop going when I was 12/13 years old. My mother surprisingly didn’t get mad, but I know why. The Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals were exploding around that time (which had some part in my decision), as well as a doubt I had about a particular priest I followed at our Church. I know that no one is perfect, but I feel like there are way too many hypocrites involved in the Church. The saying: “practice what you preach, goes a long way”. There are rumors of course, but I am betting that the Vatican has spent millions to cover up many scandals that have taken place in their churches. It makes me sick. And my views on homosexuality coincide anyway and I’m not about to change my views for religion.

    I do attend church on occasion though. I was in church last week for a wedding,

  • Tami

    I go to church occasionally, when the spirit moves me. I use to go a lot often, but sometimes I’m just sitting there & my mind wanders, & I don’t think that’s good. I have a personal relationship with God. I pray often, read a lot of spiritual books & feel at peace. I try & help my fellow man. I don’t believe that I really need church, so I don’t go.

  • Where do I start… I’m a senior in college, and I go to church regularly. It took life experiences, finding my values, and searching to find and appreciate church… Not just A church, or a church SERVICE, but my church family. And that’s what I like about it most. Some say that church is a social club… And to be honest, you’re right. But you have to remember that there are good social clubs and bad social clubs. The good ones have a mission, have a vision, and work towards it, meeting together every so often, uplifting each other to reach a common goal. And we all know about the bad social clubs… The gossip, the personal motives, the mishandling of funds, and so forth…

    My church is small. Very small. But a good service is ensured every week. We share our pastor with a bigger church (the church I was raised in), so we only see him about once a month, and so we have to handle things on our own. And I think that’s why I like it so much. Because we don’t have a lot of resources, everyone becomes in involved, and I feel like I have a place there. It’s not about church politics, about having a title. It’s about keeping the church going.

    My small church has something that I don’t imagine megachurches can offer. And that is truth and fellowship. Because of the size, a missing face is always noticed. And I don’t mean in the collection plate. Money isn’t pushed here, but fellowship is. The fellowship makes the church. Service is once a week, but the church family is there all the time. We text each other during the week, and hang out on the weekends.That’s why I’m still in the church.

  • BellaTerra66

    I don’t go to a Christian church because it’s totally irrelevant to me. God is not ‘male’. God is not ‘three in one’. (I was raised Roman Catholic and am grateful for that education and upbringing.) Although I understand that confession is good for mental health, I can confess straight to God or through a good friend and not through a celibate man. And altho’ I’ve known a few good Catholic priests, Protestant ministers and non-denomination ministers — the vast majority seem to be very overly impressed with themselves (for example, Pastors Schuller and Rick Warren). At times I do miss the ‘bells & smells’, the signs and symbols, of Roman Catholicism, but I have them in my home, and I don’t miss the rituals and the community of RC enough to go back. I think I have a much better relationship with ‘God’ since I quit going to church (many years ago). And, if there is a God (and I tend to think there is), I pray, I am joyful (mostly by nature and personality type, I think), I am grateful for all I have (I don’t have much — by American standards — but I have almost all I need), and I think the meaning of life is to help others (and ourselves) make it through life, which is often very painful. I mean, seriously, is there any other reason to be alive other than to try to help alleviate suffering (physical, mental, emotional) for others and for ourselves? And as for other religions — Buddhism, Jewish, Muslim, etc. — while I respect every person’s belief in their own religion, non-Christian religions are even more irrelevant to me than the Christian religion. I’ve seen so much abuse and violence with the roots being religion. [I truly think and believe that Jesus never meant to start a church.]

  • LR

    In other words, women hate going to church. Why? Because it promotes gender inequality, especially in marriage. And there’s more men attending church, especially the Catholic Church, on average. And men are usually allowed to hold higher positions in the church than women.