Where Have All the Women Gone?

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

By Eileen Gilmer

There’s a phrase that’s been big in the church world for the last couple of years: unchurched. In short, it’s someone who does not belong to (or is not connected to) a church. This number is growing. Fast. And, in the last decade the trend has picked up its pace.

Barna Group researches cultural and religious trends. Their works shows that 45% of adults are unchurched in the United States. One of the more surprising trends is the growing number of women who are part of the cultural shift away from church-going, as well as away from the Christian faith.

Researchers found about 38% of the women polled had not been to church in the last six months. They are the unchurched. But the trend runs much deeper than that. The majority of unchurched women (85%) were actually dechurched. According to Barna, it’s not just that they are unfamiliar to church. The sad fact is that they’ve decided church is not for them.

The five trends that have contributed to this move away from church:

Competing priorities: Only a third of women feel that attending their local church is very important to them.

Busyness: This one is no shocker. Barna found 72% of women are stressed out; 58% are tired; 48% feel overcommitted.

Lack of emotional engagement and support: Nearly half (43%) say they feel no emotional support from churches.

Changing family structure: Many women are waiting longer to have children and don’t fit in at churches that prioritize family ministries.

Changes in belief: The majority of unchurched women (62%) still say they are Christians. Just 46% of Millennial women self-identify as Christian.

What does this mean? That we, the church, have much work to do. Jim, Keith and I always have open doors and would love to help you find a place at Trinity. If you have an idea for a mission, ministry or program, please don’t hesitate to share it. Our goal is for everyone to feel loved, connected and welcomed children of God.

Research courtesy of Barna Group    barnagroup.org


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Trinity United Methodist Church is located in McLean, VA. Our weekly worship services are on Sundays at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and on Wednesdays at noon. Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. for children and adults. Children up to 6th grade are also invited to Children's Education during the 10:30 service. Adult Bible Study also occurs on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Please visit our website for more information.

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