About one in four Protestant churchgoers who have a job are required to work on Sunday mornings at least once a month, according to a new Lifeway Research survey.
Although the majority (64 percent) of employed Protestant churchgoers say they never have to work on Sunday mornings, 25 percent do, according to the poll, which was released Tuesday. That includes 8 percent who work on Sunday mornings every week, 10 percent who do so two or more times a month, and 7 percent who work on Sunday mornings once a month.
Adults ages 18-34 are the most likely age group to say they work on Sunday mornings at least once a month. Among racial groups, African Americans (32 percent) and Hispanics (31 percent) are the most likely to say they work Sunday mornings that frequently.
“When a local body of believers cannot all meet together, it is missing out on its purpose,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “While a traditional Sunday morning meeting time works for most, it isn’t possible for all to attend.”
Joby Martin, the lead pastor of The Church of Eleven22 in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, said churches have a unique opportunity to reach this demographic by offering a service on a different day of the week. His church holds a service on Thursdays.
“Because of other things happening at the church at the time, Thursday night was the only option available,” Martin told Lifeway Research. “It was an accident, but God breathed on it like crazy.”
A Saturday service wasn’t feasible, he said.
“We did not want to do Saturday because at that point I had a young family, and they would end up despising a Saturday service because we would never get a day with family,” Martin said.
Church members embraced the idea of a new service, he added.
“Our people,” Martin said, “are very excited to open more opportunities for more people to hear the gospel.”
The poll was based on a survey of 1,002 American Protestant churchgoers.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.