Does the use of a traditional church building interfere with converting the unchurched? Some argue that we need to move to house churches or meet in other non-traditional venues to attract the lost. A recent study disagrees —
[W]e asked, “If you were considering visiting or joining a church, would knowing that the church does not meet in a traditional church building impact your decision?”
The responses told an important story:
- It would not make any difference – 73%
- It would negatively impact my decision – 19%
- It would positively impact my decision – 6%
- Not sure – 2%
In fact, the “would not make any difference” response was higher among the unchurched than others. In short, a traditional building is an advantage, not a disadvantage.
Even though most of those who were asked don’t seem to care if the church has a traditional church building, those who have a preference strongly favor traditional locations — by an almost a three to one ratio. Almost every demographic group, out of those with a preference, had more people open to the traditional locations than to the non-traditional ones.
There is a huge openness to non-traditional locations, but it’s far from essential that a church plant meet in a restaurant or movie theater rather than a church building. Indeed, people seem to prefer that churches meet in church buildings, but the clearest conclusion is that most people simply don’t care either way.
Therefore, a church plant can meet wherever is convenient and affordable and likely do well.