One in three Australians would be willing to attend a church service this Christmas if they were invited. That’s according to a survey by NCLS Research which found only a quarter of respondents categorically refused to go to church. Around 15% said they were unsure whether they’d accept an invitation.
According to the Australian Community Survey, personal relationships are the key to whether people would accept a Christmas church invitation.
Respondents were asked, “Apart from special occasions such as weddings and funerals, would you go to a Christian church service if invited by close friends or family?” Around 30% indicated they would be likely to accept such an invitation with 16% saying they would be certain to accept and 14% saying they’d most likely join them. Another 15% were unsure.
NCLS Research writes: “This suggests that there is a relatively steady level of interest in attending church services across the year, not just special Christian events like Christmas.”
However, a finding from the recent National Church Life Survey also conducted by NCLS Research, reveals a substantial drop in the proportion of church attenders who have invited someone to church. It fell from 41% in 2016 to 33% in 2021.
Many are not in a position to be invited at all with around a quarter of Australians (26%) noting that they don’t have any close friends or family who attend church. NCLS writes: “Because of the importance of relationships, the difficulty in inviting those with no connection to church is clear. The evidence suggests that churchgoers inviting their friends and family to church is the most effective way to draw in and welcome new church attenders.”
It concludes: “Christmas is a great reason to invite them to attend and to come and see who the celebration is really all about.”