A new survey says the place considered to be the one of the safest places on earth is not viewed as friendly by most Americans. The study commissioned by Group Publishing found the only 18 percent of Americans thought the church was the friendliest place in town. The result ranked the local church behind “ home” as the place Americans felt was most open to them and their needs. 35 percent of respondents said home was the friendliest place they knew. The study examined other aspects of making friends and uncovered other interesting facts. Surprisingly, the church ranked lower than restaurants, pub, and sports bars when it came to American’s favorite places to meet new friends. Only 16 percent of Americans said church was a good place to meet new friends, and 11 percent said they liked to meet new friends “online.”
Reflecting on the results of the study, director of research at Group Publishing, Chris Howley speculated the reason restaurants, pubs and sports bar ranked over churches was a sense that there were no strings attached. Howley said many people go to church because they feel like they have to go. Regarding restaurants and bars, he explained, “They can approach those places without an overwhelming sense of obligation.” Howley said Americans said the most important factor making a place friendly is an ability to set a person at ease. He says there are implications for the local church. Howley added, “What the survey revealed for us is that people are really starved for relationship when it comes to what they’re looking for in a church.”
--Survey: Church, Ministers Not the Friendliest in Town, http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100204/survey-church-ministers-not-the-friendliest-in-town/index.html; February 4, 2010. Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell.
Romans 12:16 (NIV) “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”