It used to be said that the biggest factor for people in choosing a church to attend was its style of music. But according to a Pew Research Center poll, that's no longer the case.
So what is the biggest thing people look for?
Pew says it's the quality of sermons. That ranked number one with "feeling welcomed by leaders" as second and "style of worship services" as third. "Location," "religious education for kids," "having friends/family in congregation," and "volunteering opportunities" followed in that order.
American's willingness to put good sermons ahead of worship styles in importance is good news for those who feel the preaching to be more substantive than music.
Those numbers reflected polling of mainline Protestants, evangelicals, historically black congregations, Catholics, non-Christian faiths, atheists, and agnostics. Interestingly, Protestants of all stripes ranked the quality of sermons, welcomeness, and worship music styles higher in importance than Catholics did.
So how do most people find a church and learn if it's a good fit? By attending services to see what they're like and asking friends and family for recommendations. Asking churches questions over the phone and researching their websites are methods church searchers use, but Pew determined it's harder for people to really get a feel for a church with those two methods alone.
What was the biggest thing you looked for in choosing a church?