Church Switchers & Surprising Answers About Unanswered Prayers
Most adult churchgoers in the United States don’t frequently switch churches. But if they make a congregational change, it’s likely they made a residential change first. And, Old Testament leaders were willing to wait for God to answer their prayers because they believed God was working out a grander plan.
Most adult churchgoers in the United States don’t frequently switch churches. But if they make a congregational change, it’s likely they made a residential change first. And those who switch have high expectations for their new congregation.
Data from a Lifeway Research study of American Protestant adults who attend church at least twice a month and have attended more than one church as an adult provide pastors and church leaders with insights into the ins and outs of who’s going in or out of their church doors.
Overall, church changes often follow a residential move. Three in 5 (60 percent) churchgoers who’ve switched churches say they decided to attend their current church due to a residential move.
Many churchgoers who have switched churches as adults are still settling into their current churches, with half saying they began attending their current church five years ago or less (50 percent). Around 1 in 3 (34 percent) churchgoers who have switched churches have attended their current church for one to five years. And 16 percent have attended their current church for less than a year.
Both those changing churches locally and those making residential moves rely heavily on in-person visits…up to 71 percent reported that. Forty percent of people who are moving say they rely on online resources including church websites, social media sites and online search tools when learning about a church.
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Old Testament leaders were willing to wait for God to answer their prayers because they believed God was working out a grander plan.
Kie Bowman writes, “King David, for instance, understood that prayer waits on God’s timing, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1). An interesting passage in Daniel also paints a picture of God’s timing related to answered prayer. Daniel prayed and waited three weeks for an answer which was delayed for reasons known only in the counsel of God. Even with the explanation given to Daniel, we may be left with as many questions as answers about why God waits. We do learn from Daniel’s experience, however, that our prayers and their answers are interconnected in and with God’s larger purposes in ways that we, in our limited perspectives, may never fully appreciate except by faith.”
He says, “In our impatience and self-obsession, we remain oblivious to the space between our requests and God’s answers. In that nexus exists imperceptible connections to circumstances which remain unnoticed by us, but which are critical to the purposes of God. “
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