Since the start of Jesus’ ministry, women have always been pillars of the New Testament body of Christ. As a matter of fact, Jesus and the apostle Paul could always count on the women in their ministries to help them get things done. Ask any ministry leader, and they will tell you the same.
However, since 1993, an increasing number of women are stepping away from "going to church" and some even from the Christian faith.
According to a Barna research article, only 11% of women view "going to church" a priority, and as many as 46% are “unchurched”, meaning not belonging to, or connected with a church building.
Here are six reasons “Going to church" is no longer a priority with women.
In listing these reasons, I have added my experience as a ministry leader in the black community, coupled with Barna's findings with women in general.
“The factors influencing these women’s decisions to reduce (or stop) churchgoing behavior are varied and unique to every person”. Barna
- Family is their number one priority. In 3 Culture Trends Church Leaders Shouldn’t Ignore, I wrote that their kids are involved in more activities outside of 'church', and a lot of these activities occur on Sundays.
- Work and trying to make a living. “Although women may not feel comfortable identifying their job as their top priority, their actual time commitment reflects a high value for that part of their lives.” BarnaA growing number of women are single, and many are single parents. That means they have to work to take care of their families. Sometimes, work requires their presence on the weekend, including Sundays.
- Hectic and busy lifestyles. Especially those who are mothers. With raising kids and everything that comes with that, running a household, PTA, Girl Scouts, school requirements and projects, etc. Not to mention job requirements.For a growing number of women, traditional 'church' gatherings and weekday service times just do not fit into “everyday realities”.
- Lack of support and engagement from 'church' leadership. This can mean a lot of things to a lot of women. It also varies from one place of worship to another. From being too large, that face time with leadership is impossible, and too small that they're being judged by their past, rather than rejoicing with them for what Jesus has in-store for their future.In "Church Refugees" by Josh Packard, one woman put it this way, "Church doesn't often move past the realm of service into relationship despite a core message from Jesus." She went on to say, "A sensitivity of spirit and compassion are some of the things I've noticed that are missing from the Christian church."
- Culture. A growing number of women find themselves consumed by their past, and the current culture. Over time, many have become a reflection of this culture. With tattoos, body piercings and sexual orientation, more women are finding that these lifestyle choices clash with 'church' culture.
- Changing beliefs have turned a growing number of women away from Jesus, and into the arms of another god.
“The number of women who identify as atheist or agnostic has risen from 8% in 2000 to 11 percent today, among Millennial women that number is even higher: more than two in 10 now identify as atheists (22%), up from 18% in 2005.” Barna
Candace L. M. Gorham author of "The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking out on Religion—and Others Should Too," says there is "a direct connection between the 'church' and the plight of black women, who are the single most religious demographic in the United States, yet among the poorest, least educated, and least healthy groups in the nation."
Watch her interview:
Many professional women say that they feel and find a greater sense of purpose and accomplishment outside the walls of a 'church' building, something the 'church' hasn't always encouraged women to do.