The number of people who attend church on a regular basis has dropped considerably since the 1950’s. There are many factors impacting attendance rates and we are going to take a closer look at these items.
Lack of Social Pressure
In the past, everyone in the community would attend church. This high attendance rate by the entire community placed a significant amount of pressure on people to attend, if you did not attend church it could lead to a negative impression which may lead to other social consequences. Prior to the proliferation of the Internet and modern technology, the majority of people worked where they lived. If your boss and colleagues all went to church and you did not show up without a really valid reason, you could find yourself in trouble with your boss. This social pressure started to reduce in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
On Sunday morning there was nothing to do except go to church, there was nothing on television and all stores were closed. This lack of alternative forms of entertainment forced people to sit in front of church pulpits because they had no other options available to them. With the development of television, radio, and driving those individuals who did not want to go to church could find some other ways to pass their time.
7 Day Work Week
Sunday was considered the Lord’s Day and the majority of people did not work on that day. With the modern economy, people are expected to work 7 days a week and that includes Sunday. It started with the retail sector staying open because people were off on Sunday and looking for something to do. Businesses realized they could get more productivity from people by having them work on weekends. Individuals who were having tough times economically would forego church to work overtime or moonlight on the weekend which prevented them from going to church.
Lack of Moral Values
The sermons coming from most church pulpits have evolved to reflect the current social condition. There has been a significant breakdown in moral values and society as a whole. A few generations ago, it was considered a mortal sin to have children out of wedlock however, it has become very common for couples to stay together and have children without marriage. Along with the loss of family values, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who are using illicit and legal drugs. People who are addicted to drugs are not able to attend church service, their addiction takes over ever facet of his/her life.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
While the church has experienced a significant reduction in the number of people who are attending Sunday service. There are efforts being made at a grassroots level to try and engage the public. By highlighting the benefits of attending church, a portion of the population may feel inclined to go back to a more traditional way of life similar to that of their ancestors.