Do you know the biggest reason why people attend church?


By Brandon Hilgemann

Why do people go to church?

A recent Gallup study found that 76 percent of people who attend church at least once a month say that sermons that teach them more about Scripture are the primary reason they go.

Plus, 75 percent also listed sermons that help them connect their beliefs to their lives as a major factor for attending.

The study confirms what I have been saying for years: Preaching is the number one reason people go to your church. And it’s not just any kind of preaching, but biblical teaching that’s relevant to their lives.

It’s not the music (38 percent), community (49 percent), service opportunities (59 percent), or kids and youth ministry (64 percent).

All of these are still important. But the primary reason people listed for going to church was good preaching.

Some will be quick to argue that people should go to church for more than preaching. “It’s about Christian community! It’s about loving the bride of Christ!”

True. Church is about more than preaching. But it doesn’t change the fact that three-quarters of people come to church because of the preaching.

There’s no substitute for a good sermon.

Preaching Is a Pastor’s Primary Responsibility

This Gallup study reinforces the fact that your number one responsibility as a pastor is to preach the Word.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The study only backs up what the Bible has said for years.

For example, Paul writes to the young pastor, Timothy: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2 NIV).

Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations by “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20a).

Whether they know it or not, people are starving for God’s Word. It’s your job to give it to them.

There’s nothing you do (aside from fostering your own spiritual life) that is more important for leading your church.

Biblical and relevant preaching will lead more people to Jesus.
Biblical and relevant preaching will inspire more people to be more like Christ.
Biblical and relevant preaching will help your church grow.

Why do we continue to waste so much time on the mundane details of ministry when our preaching is the thing that makes the biggest impact?

Making phone calls, visiting hospitals, managing the budget, and changing light bulbs are all important. But not more important than preaching.

You can’t spend all your time on sermon preparation, but you cannot afford to neglect your call to preach.

People come to your church every week wanting and needing to hear from God. Your job is to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you as you teach God’s Word to your people in a way that resonates with their lives.

There are too many dying churches plagued with dull sermons that barely teach the Bible.

If you want to grow as a preacher, you owe it to yourself and your church to improve your sermon preparation and delivery.

Here’s the point: If the reason people attend church is preaching, they will choose whether to attend your church primarily because of your preaching. It’s a fact.

This post was first published at

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