Why People Don't Go to Church
The churches in Australia are an important social institution. Every week church services are held across Australia at which people meet to worship God and to be nurtured in the Christian faith. While churches conduct a range of other activities,...
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The churches in Australia are an important social institution. Every week church services are held across Australia at which people meet to worship God and to be nurtured in the Christian faith. While churches conduct a range of other activities, including welfare activities, school education and health care, the provision of public worship through church services remains a central role of the churches.
The research in this book identifies the likely importance of a variety of social and cultural influences on the choices of Australian adults regarding church attendance. The possible influences examined in this book include: church contact as a child social relations, particularly spouse and close friends competing leisure activities religious beliefs, both Christian and non-Christian moral and other values attitudes towards the churches The premise of this book is that it is important for the churches to listen to the voices of those who are not closely involved with the churches. The ACS is an important way for the community to speak to the churches. The feedback it provides raises issues for reflection such as: Are there barriers that can be removed to increase the possibility of contact between the churches and those who may be disaffected? Are there new bridges that need to be built to sections of the community not being effectively reached by traditional forms of ministry? Are there elements of church life and ministry that need to be developed to ensure that those who currently attend are being well served and nurtured? It is important for the churches to listen, reflect and act upon these issues, because they have a direct bearing on the growth pf the churches themselves. A previous NCLS publication has shown that people leaving most mainstream denominations currently do so at a rate that is greater than the inflow of newcomers (Build My Church, 1999, 50-58).
This book springs from the belief that local churches are important to the healthy development of the Christian faith, a belief that is supported by the information provided through the ACS. It is our hope that, if church attenders can better understand the reasons why Australians are not involved in churches, they can work towards improving the contact that they have with other Australians and can also better fulfil their role as communities that nurture people in the Christian faith.
Peter Kaldor is a primary researcher and writer with the NCLS (Natioanl Chruch Life Survey, Australia), and is past director of NCLS. He is currently responsible for developing our leadership resources that are planned for 2007. Peter's desire is that all people in the church discover that they can have a role in leadership. He is the author and editor of many books Build My Church, Taking Stock: Profile of Australian Church Attenders, Why People Don't Go To Church, Burnout In Church Leaders and Mission Under The Microscope.
Alan Black is the literary manager of San Franciscoas famous bookish venue Edinburgh Castle Pub. His work has been published in the "San Francisco Chronicle, Salon.com," and "The Christian Science Monitor," He is cofounder of the Scottish Cultural and Arts Foundation and coeditor of "Public House," an anthology. This is his first book.
Philip Hughes is the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association. He has worked for the CRA since it was established in 1985. Philip Hughes has post-graduate degrees in philosophy, education and theology. His doctorate in theology involved a study of the expression of the Christian faith in the Thai contextPhilip Hughes works four days per week for the CRA. He is also employed by Edith Cowan University on projects on church and community and insecurity and well-being.He is the author of a number of books on Austrlain Culture and Mission including Putting Life Together, Handbook For Cross-Cultural Ministry, Exploring What Australians Value and Building Stronger Communities.