As a pastor I am always interested in church growth. I think many might ask how does our church compare in attendance to other churches. This is also important as I teach young missionaries about church planting. How large should we build that first auditorium? How many should we expect in attendance?

So here are some interesting links to some research I just completed. I think you might be interested in these numbers. They do not make a difference in the long run. We should just do our ministry, honor God and let Him grow His church as He sees fit. But then, men tend to like to see how they are doing. So here you go:

The following chart is found at this web site.

Approximate Distribution of U.S. Protestant and Other Christian Churches by size *based on NCS study
(excluding Catholic/Orthodox)

ATTENDANCE # OF CHURCHES WEEKLY WORSHIPERS PERCENT

7-99

177,000

  9 million 59%

100-499

105,000

25 million 35%

500-999

12,000

  9 million 4%

1,000-1,999

6,000

  8 million 2%

2,000-9,999

1,170

  4 million .4%

10,000-plus

40

  .7 million .01%

TOTALS

approx. 300,000

approx. 56 million 100%

Check out this quote found here.

Nine out of ten. That’s a lot. Nine out of ten churches in America have an average worship attendance of less than 350. And that percentage has not changed significantly for many years.

Another quote from the same source:

Here is a simple depiction of the number of churches at three different levels:

50% of all churches in America average less than 100 in worship attendance.
40% of all churches in America average between 100 and 350 in attendance.
10% of all churches in America average more than 350 in attendance.

It is hard to understand just what it means when we say average church attendance. Check out this article to really understand and or get confused.

  • You may have heard people say that the “average” sized church in the U.S. or Canada is about 75 people. You also may have heard someone say that the “average” sized church in North America is about 185 people. Who is right? It all depends how you define “average”.

  • Imagine you are looking down a very, very long street, and all the churches of U.S. are lined up along the left side of the street from smallest to largest. In behind each church are all their Sunday morning attenders.

  • If you counted the grand total of everyone standing behind each church and then divided this number by the total number of churches that you see on this very long street, you would come up with a “mean” or “average” size of 184. “Mean” is usually what we mean of when we think of “average”. But this number of 184 is a very misleading number.

  • The “average” church that you are standing in front of is called the “median” church. You look to see how many people are lined up behind it, and you see 75 people. That is right, half the churches in the United States have less than 75 people.

  • The average or “mean” church at 184 is 2.45 times the size of the average median church at 75.

  • This means that half of church attenders in the U.S. go to churches larger than 400. If we were to use the word “average” again, we would see that the “average” or “median” churchgoer was in a church of 400. Not only that, but this means that half of all those who attend church are in less that 10% of the churches!

The following comes from this web site.

The Barna Group pegs the average Protestant church size in America at 89 adults. Only 2% of churches have over 1000 adults attending.

According to Carl George and Warren Bird, fully 85% of all Protestant churches in North America never break the 200 attendance mark.

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