Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Lionel Matthews

Abstract

Problem. Although formal research on the reasons for non-attendance at Christian churches in America has been conducted, it is not known how these reasons apply to the Pacifica community of California, a suburb of San Francisco. Furthermore, little, if any, research has been conducted to compare the reasons for non-attendance as acknowledged by non-attenders with the reasons as perceived by attenders. The purpose of this study was to examine and compare the reasons for non-attendance in Pacifica.

Method. A survey research method was employed to collect data on the acknowledged and perceived reasons for non-attendance at Christian churches in Pacifica. A convenience sample of 1,160 adult residents of Pacifica, 632 attenders and 528 non-attenders, was selected, and data were collected using two self-administered questionnaires, one forattenders and one for non-attenders. Reasons for non-attendance, acknowledged and perceived, were examined using a 5-point Liken scale to measure respondent attitudes towards 55 specific reasons for non-attendance. Data from attenders were collected incooperation with the leadership of local churches. Data from non-attenders were collected at a local supermarket and other locations in the city. Factor and reliability analyses and aseries of independent samples t -tests were conducted to determine, and compare, the acknowledged and perceived reasons for non-attendance in Pacifica. Statistical significance was set at .01. Open-ended questions also permitted respondents to express acknowledged and perceived reasons for non-attendance in their own words.

Results. Five underlying factors for non-attendance at Christian churches in Pacifica were empirically derived from the data. The factors were (a) church-related issues, (b) personal decisions, (c) personal priorities, (d) personal preconceptions, and (e) personal disconnects. Significant discrepancies between acknowledged and perceived reasons were noted, particularly in the area of personal priorities and personal decisions.

Conclusions. Non-attenders and attenders do not always agree in respect to the reasons for nonattendance at Christian churches in Pacifica and this is an opportunity for more outreach and increased dialogue between the two groups.

Subject Area

Church attendance--California--San Francisco, Church membership--California--San Francisco

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Share

COinS