Most Churchgoers Attend to Become Closer to God
The desire for more of God eclipses all other reasons for going to church
While the promise of free-flowing coffee and friendly fellowship may help churchgoers roll out of bed on Sunday morning, most point to a desire to become closer to God as the main motivation for attending services, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Among U.S. adults who go to church at least monthly, 61 percent cited drawing closer to God as the most important reason they show up — and no other reason even came close.
Smaller shares of churchgoers said the main reason they attend is to become a better person (8 percent); to be part of a community of faith (6 percent); to find comfort in tough times (5 percent); to give their children a moral foundation (4 percent); to hear valuable sermons (4 percent); to please a family member or partner (2 percent); or to continue a family tradition (2 percent).
Some 8 in 10 regular churchgoers did say they “often” or “always” experience a sense of God’s presence when they attend services. Nearly three-quarters say church provides a sense of community. And about 60 percent say attending helps them feel a connection to longstanding tradition.