Study: Church size effects friendliness

Mega Churches Rate Higher with First-time Guests and Micro Churches are Friendliest

By Melanie Smollen

Faith Perceptions has once again released their findings in their annual Church Index. This 2014 index incorporates data collected over six years and 4,288 worship services to shed light on how churches of different sizes are faring across the United States with first-time guests. This index shows that mega churches, those averaging over 1,000 in weekly attendance, performed better than churches of other sizes in nine out of the sixteen categories evaluated including community awareness, resources, music, and children’s ministries. Micro churches, those averaging less than 80 in weekly attendance, fared better than their larger counterparts in welcoming new visitors and in overall friendliness. Visits to mega churches comprised 5.2% of the total worship services measured, and micro churches comprised 6.8%.

Faith Perceptions measures the first-time guest experience at churches across the United States. Here is how it works: Faith Perceptions partners with church leaders who wish to understand how their church connects and welcomes first-time visitors. Faith Perceptions hires primarily “unchurched” and anonymous mystery visitors from the church’s local area to attend their services, and sends a different person to each service over several months. Each mystery guest then completes an online survey describing their experience and Faith Perceptions compiles the data and provides reports to the church leaders with qualitative and quantitative feedback. Church leaders then benchmark their results against the Index and use this information to better understand their strengths and evaluate areas of potential improvement.

The 2014 Faith Perceptions Church Index is available to download from the company’s website.

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