At least according to one survey, bars and social network are better places to make and keep friends than churches.
About 75 percent of 800 people surveyed by Colorado-based Group Publishing were self-identified as Christians. Of the full sample only 16 percent identified church as the best place to meet new friends.
“Our churches are losing ground to other venues for people-to-people connections,” said Jon Vaughan, corporate marketing director of Group Publishing in a press release. “Since the Internet has become an integral element of our daily lives, pastors and church leaders must be more creative in facilitating social networking — both face-to- face and through the Web.”
The top two factors identified in the survey indicating friendliness were a feeling of belonging to a larger group and being comfortable in a new setting.
The impression of pastors was also a key factor. Pastors ranked on par with store clerks and hairstylists for friendliness.
“While these rankings are not surprising, it is interesting to note that the ‘friendly index’ of pastors was not much higher than hairstylists and store clerks,” Vaughan said.. “This survey clearly indicates the church in America must look for new and innovative ways to engage with its congregations.”
For full survey results, see Group Publishing.