Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Church Road Trips

Beyond the Ordinary, a PCUSA denominational blog, posted a very interesting survey that analyzes travel time to church versus level of church involvement.

The topic piques my interest because our former church was a 12 minute drive from home while our new church is 25 minutes away on a Sunday morning (longer during peak traffic times!). While we would not have joined a church that far away when our children were growing up, it is well worth the drive to us now. Our level of involvement is almost as high as it was at the other church and I would say that the difference is accounted for more by a desire to focus our efforts than by distance, although there is no doubt distance is a factor.

Interestingly, the survey says that there is little difference in participation among those who travel 30 minutes or less to church, which would be the group we fall into. That surprised me. I would have guessed that a difference in participation showed up at 15 or 20 minutes. According to the survey, only 3% of church-goers travel more than 30 minutes to their church and their participation rates are sharply down.

I think that one of the things this survey shows is that more churches can reach out farther geographically into the community than they think they can to attract members.

How far do you travel to attend church? What difference has distance made in choosing your church home?


Alan said...

Easily a decade ago I read that most people first join a church within a mile of their homes. If/when they move they have no problem with driving past the same denomination to return to "their" church.

That has certainly been true in Kenton's case although when people move into the smaller rural towns in the area they usually join a church there since their children share the same sports and school activities.


lb said...

I grew up driving 20-ish minutes to church, so anything less feels like a treat! That said, I've noticed that churches who count on commuters don't always have ministry happening among those who are within walking distance.

Mary Beth said...

I drive 30 min to church at a no-traffic time, up to an hour on weekday evenings. It's in the next town over. There are 2 churches of my denomination in my town, but husband and I made Church to the South our mutual choice. Now I'd never's the people.