The number of people in the UK attending church is on the rise but fewer individuals are making it a regular habit, new research suggests. According to a YouGov survey commissioned by The Times newspaper, the proportion coming to church “several times a year” rose from six per cent last year to seven per cent in 2018. But only five per cent this year said they go every week – a decrease compared to six per cent in 2017. Graham Nicholls from Affinity, a national network of 1,200 evangelical churches across the UK and Ireland, said churches should help cultivate committed attendance.
He told Premier: “More people are attending church, so that’s got to be a good thing; there’s an opportunity for them to get saved, discipled and so on. “So, there’s good news. Obviously, there’s bad news in the sense of the lack of commitment.” The proportion of people who said they only attend church for weddings and funerals fell from 63 per cent in 2016 to 61 per cent in 2017 and to 56 per cent in 2018. Asked about attitudes towards casual church attendance, Graham Nicholls added: “What is often modelled in churches is that Christianity is a lifestyle or pick-me-up.
“We need to make sure we’re including the whole gospel, calling people under the lordship of Christ, teaching them how to be happy and holy even in trouble. “I think that will bind us together more as a community and make us a more attractive community that people want to come to – not just once every month.” In the poll of 1,660 people, The Times also found the proportion of people who believe in a god of some kind had stayed steady at 29 per cent, while those who were “unsure” rose from twelve to 14 per cent. An earlier survey found the number of people who describe themselves as belonging to the Church of England had reached a record low.
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