Unchurched Prefer Cathedrals over Contemporary Church Buildings

Posted on April 9, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Religion |

I find this interesting since churches are falling all over themselves to be hipper and cooler in order to attract new people.

Unchurched Prefer Cathedrals Over Contemporary Church Buildings
By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Apr. 07 2008 07:55 AM ETEXCERPT:

Unchurched Americans prefer churches that look more like a medieval cathedral over contemporary church buildings, a new study showed.

Although billions of dollars have been spent on church buildings and more contemporary designs, church attendance has declined, said Jim Couchenour, director of marketing and ministry services for Cogun Inc., a founding member of Cornerstone Knowledge Network. The network was thus prompted to ask, “As church builders what can we do to help church leaders be more intentional about reaching people who don’t go to church?”

In a study conducted by LifeWay Research for Cornerstone Knowledge Network, the unchurched preferred more traditional looking buildings by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio over any other option. Given 100 “preference points” to allocate among four photos of church exteriors, the unchurched used an average of 47.7 points on the most traditional and Gothic options.

The other three options were given only 18.5 to 15.9 points.

“Quite honestly, this research surprised us,” said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research and LifeWay Christian Resource’s missiologist in residence. “We expected they’d choose the more contemporary options, but they were clearly more drawn to the aesthetics of the Gothic building than the run-of-the-mill, modern church building.”

Stetzer believes unchurched Americans may be drawn to the look of the Gothic cathedral because it speaks to a connectedness to the past.

Young unchurched people particularly preferred the traditional look. Those between the ages of 25 to 34 gave an average of 58.9 of their 100 preference points to the more Gothic church exterior while those over the age of 70 gave that option only an average of 32.9 points.

One survey respondent said modern churches “seem cold.”

“I like the smell of candles burning, stained-glass windows, [and] an intimacy that’s transcendent,” the respondent said.
LINK: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080407/31833_Unchurched_Prefer_Cathedrals_Over_Contemporary_Church_Buildings.htm




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