SOURCE: Salem Web Network

Salem Web Network

April 12, 2011 10:02 ET

Crosswalk.com Survey: Lack of Connection Biggest Reason Christians Leave Church

RICHMOND, VA--(Marketwire - Apr 12, 2011) - With a rising number of churchgoers abandoning the pews every year, popular Christian web destination, Crosswalk.com, conducted an online survey to determine the primary factors in church defection. The survey's most striking revelation: 34% of people who attend church leave because of a lack of personal connections there.

One participant who voiced his discouragement with his church body said, "There is no depth in relationships. People did not have time to be friends to other members." The same disappointment is shared by other respondents: 18% have abandoned a church because they felt unwelcome, and 16% stated their reason as an inability to connect with others.

"A welcoming community makes it a positive experience for the entire congregation and visitors," says Stephen McGarvey, Executive Editorial Director of Salem Web Network, operator of Crosswalk.com. "If it fails to provide that environment, churchgoers will feel less attached and more likely to quit and look elsewhere."

Both an approachable congregation and the ability to fellowship with others are deciding factors in survey respondents' decision to remain with a particular church body: 53% agree that the primary reason they currently attend a place of worship is because of the friendships they've established.

Tom Perrault, senior vice president of Salem Web Network, confirmed that leveraging the largest Christian audience on the Web for useful data is something the company plans to do more of. "SWN's goals include providing not only the best content and services to Christians online around the world, but insights into this audience that might help our partners in ministry," Perrault said.

In addition to friendships and relationships with others in their congregation, the survey results reveal that other aspects of church abandonment include relocation, poor church leadership and theological differences.

About Salem Communications and Salem Web Network:

Salem Communications Corporation is the largest commercial U.S. radio broadcasting company that provides programming targeted at audiences interested in Christian and family-themed radio content, as measured by the number of stations and audience coverage. Upon completion of all announced transactions, the company will own and/or operate a national portfolio of 95 radio stations in 37 markets, including 59 stations in 22 of the top 25 markets. Salem also programs the Family Talk™ Christian-themed talk format on XM Radio, channel 170, and on SIRIUS, channel 161.

Salem owns Salem Radio Network, a national radio network that syndicates talk, news and music programming to approximately 2,000 affiliated radio stations and Salem Media Representatives, a national media advertising sales firm with offices across the country.

In addition to its radio broadcast business, Salem owns a non-broadcast media division. Salem Web Network is a provider of online Christian and conservative-themed content and streaming and includes websites such as Christian faith focused Christianity.com, Questions and Answers about Jesus Christ at Jesus.org, Christian living focused Crosswalk.com®, online Bible at BibleStudyTools.com, and Christian radio ministries online at OnePlace.com. Additionally Salem owns conservative news leader Townhall.com® and conservative political blog HotAir.com, providing conservative commentary, news and blogging. Salem Publishing™ circulates Christian and conservative magazines such as Homecoming® The Magazine, YouthWorker Journal™, The Singing News, FaithTalk Magazine, Preaching and Townhall Magazine™. Xulon Press™ is a provider of self publishing services targeting the Christian audience. FaithTalk Magazine, Preaching and Townhall Magazine™. Xulon Press™ is a provider of self publishing services targeting the Christian audience.

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