Two weeks’ ago a team of 14 volunteers from CCB spent a Saturday morning outside Sainsbury’s. We were there to make first contact with people and conduct a questionnaire. We were well received, which was great because none of us were quite sure how we’d go down. We were infinitely more popular than the ‘chuggers’. In the end we had a number of encouraging conversations with a variety of people. We were out between 11am and 1pm. And the total number of completed questionnaires was 247, which was fewer than the 300 we were aiming for. A couple of wonderful CCB church members did the data entry and spreadsheet analysis. I’m indebted to them.
We asked four questions
1. Would you say that you believe in God?
2. How often, if ever, do you attend church?
3. Which of the following best expresses your reasons for not attending?
- I’m busy doing other things on a Sunday
- I don’t believe that God exists
- I’ve been put off by my previous experience
- I don’t think it would make a difference to my life
- I belong to another faith
- I would go but I don’t know what to expect
4. What’s the one thing that churches could do to make your more likely to attend?
The age breakdown of those questionned looked like this.
Therefore almost 50% of those questionned were aged under 35.
I wasn’t expecting that. I thought that amongst a young urban crowd the levels of atheism would be much higher. Of course, this question doesn’t say which God that they believe in. But it’s clear that Balham isn’t as secular as we might have thought. We found that these figures were approximately the same regardless of gender.
Of the total number of those questioned, 60% do not attend a church.
We found that among those who express belief in God 60% attend church.
Therefore 2 out of every 5 people who say that they believe in God do not attend a church.
Amongst the 60% of those questioned who do not attend church these were the most common reasons
Amongst those who don’t believe in God their atheism is the single biggest reason that they don’t attend church.
What do we make of these results?
- 6 out of 10 people say that they believe in God.
- 4 out of 10 people who say that they believe in God don’t go to a church
- 3 out of 10 people say that they don’t go to church because they’re busy on a Sunday
Anecdotally, it was a terrific time. We wore our new CCB t-shirts and imade our presence felt, in a positive way! We have a good web presence but locally we’re not well known. This is one of those things that will help to address that. We lack a building, we’re in a school and so fliering and first contact through street questionnaires could help to raise our profile.
The one thing that really bugged me was people pretending that they’d not heard me and completely avoiding eye contact. It’s fine if people don’t want to spend 30 seconds filling in a survey but there’s no need to be rude. Apart from that minor irritating bugbear, it was all good! We’ll be back out again before Christmas, that’s for sure.