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religion and the internet

According to a new study from Grey Matter Research (Phoenix, Arizona) that was published this month, 44% of online Americans use the Internet for religous purposes.

Do you realize what this means? It means that the Internet is used for religious purposes by 35% of all American adults.

Over a 1,000 responses of a statistically representative sample explored use of the internet for religious content, and there’s a bunch of interesting findings coming out of this study:

  • 19% of respondents, in the past six months, visited the website of a church or other place of worship they are currently attending
  • Another 17% have visited the website of a church or place of worship they were not attending during the same time frame.
  • 19% visited a website designed to provide religious instruction or learning during the last 6 months
  • 11% visited the website of a group or organization from a religious faith that is different from their own during the last six months
  • 17% read religion-oriented blogs once a month or more
  • 14% have a pastor or other religious leader as a friend on Facebook (or a similar social network site)
  • 1 in 10 of American adults online have “Liked” a church or other place of worship on Facebook or a similar social network site
  • 8% participate in religion-oriented discussions online (e.g. bulletin boards or forums) 1x or more every month

 

What is noteworthy is that the younger generation seeks out religious content even more: 57% percent of online adults under age 35 use the Internet for religion.  And it is 48% of those who are 35 to 49 years old.

And even more interesting for church marketers: 27% who don’t attend religious services still use the Web for religious purposes.

If your church doesn’t think it is worth pursing excellence in online communications, check this fact out: 69% of those who attend worship services once a month or more use the Internet for spiritual purposes.  If you don’t want to be missional online, at least recognize that the overwhelming majority of your own community are looking to the web for spiritual content to augment their faith.

Is your church’s current website and online communications strategy something that is intentional or does it ignore these facts about usage?