4 in 10 Americans Hurt By Previous Church Experiences

If you feel you’ve been slighted or otherwise had negative experiences at church, you’re not alone.

Survey data released today by The Barna Group indicated that 37 percent of Americans – nearly 4 in 10 – had leftover bad feelings from past church experiences prompting them to stay away from churches in the present.

While I have no complaints about any of the churches I’ve been a member of dating back to childhood, there have been some places I’ve visited after having moved to a new area where I felt about as welcomed and comfortable as a fish flopping around on a beach. These were obviously one-and-done visits, but I know plenty of adults who one way or another have been completely turned off by church.

This data backs up this anecdotal evidence I’m guessing many of you have seen as well.

The survey shows that about 28 percent of Americans have not attended a church function in at least six years. That translates into about 65 million people. Add in children and you are in the neighborhood of 100 million people. With competing number that show 83 percent of Americans self-identify themselves as Christians, there exists a discernable disconnect.

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