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Most U.S. Churchgoers Have Gone Abroad

International travelers show increased interest in other cultures

Influence Magazine on July 25, 2018

Jesus told His followers to go into all the world, and a new report from Barna Group reveals that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of American churchgoing adults have at least spent some time abroad.

While it’s not clear how much of the travel was missions-based, there is a correlation between international experience and interest in other cultures.

Those who have ventured beyond the U.S. borders longer than a month at a time are significantly more likely to strongly agree that they “enjoy learning about other cultures” (66 percent) compared to those who have spent less than a month abroad (46 percent) and those who have never left the U.S. (41 percent).

There is a correlation between international experience and interest in other cultures.

Age is also a factor in how interested churchgoers are in other cultures. More than half (54 percent) of millennials agree strongly that they enjoy learning about other cultures, compared to 33 percent of Americans born prior to 1946.

Three-quarters of American churchgoers agree either strongly (38 percent) or somewhat (37 percent) that the U.S. is better than most other countries. This is just under the national average of 81 percent, though fewer non-Christians (67 percent) believe the U.S. is superior to other nations.

Among churchgoers, ethnic minorities and those who have traveled abroad for longer periods are less inclined to feel the U.S. is superior.

Despite the national pride, 41 percent of all adults and 37 percent of churchgoers agree strongly that there are some things about the U.S. today that make them feel ashamed.

When it comes to churchgoers, evangelicals (51 percent) are the most likely to express national shame. Nearly half of churchgoing millennials (46 percent) and the same share of churchgoing ethnic minorities also feel ashamed.


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