Skip Navigation

Why do people go to church? New research

United Methodist Communications conducts quantitative research to determine how United Methodists throughout the connection feel and what they think about a variety of issues. The reports are available to be used in local churches globally. Reports are downloadable as PDFs and also available as animated flip books with shareable links.

The following research reports currently are available:

Seeker Study 2015  (July 2016)

A new survey of spiritual “seekers” aged 18-34, conducted by Barna Group on behalf of United Methodist Communications found that spiritual growth and genuine community are the top motivators for attending church.

Read the article, "Survey provides insight into what seekers want from church."
View and download a PDF of the report.
Read the article, "What draws people to church? Poll has insights."

What does it mean to be United Methodist?  (June 2015)

A June 2015 study found that, in the U.S., perceptions of United Methodist values differ by a person's role and experience. What has a high degree of importance to a pastor may be of much less significance to a church member, and especially to those who don't attend regularly. But most United Methodists agree that an emphasis on God's grace is very important, as well as having a Communion table where all are welcome. 

Read the article, "Research study shows church values differ."
View the report, "What does it mean to be United Methodist?" as a flipbook.
View and download a PDF of the report.

Did the Supreme Court’s decision affect United Methodists’ attitudes? (September 2015)
A September 2015 survey found that the United States Supreme Court’s decision in June 2015 to allow same-gender couples to marry no matter where they live had little impact on U.S. United Methodist members’, leaders’ and pastors’ opinions regarding the topic.  However, respondents were not in agreement on whether the church should make changes to its policies in order to be consistent with the court’s ruling.

Read the article, "New survey from United Methodist Communications looks at key issues."
View the report, "Did the Supreme Court's decision affect United Methodists' attitudes?" as a flipbook.
View and download a PDF of the report.

Understanding thoughts, feelings and opinions of United Methodist members and leaders (June 2014)
Creating disciples of Christ, spiritual growth and youth involvement are among the top priorities for U.S. church members, according to a study from June 2014. A new study shows that issues related to human sexuality rank significantly lower than other concerns, and members want the church to engage on this issue and bring a positive perspective to the discussion.  

Read the article, "Poll: Making disciples tops United Methodists' priorities; sexuality ranks low."
View and download a PDF of the report, "Understanding thoughts, feelings and opinions of United Methodist members and leaders."