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Hidden Harvest: Oklahoma’s unchurched population analyzed

Imagine: You are standing in line at the local shopping center. It’s the weekend. The store is packed with people waiting in line to check out. You look around and see people from all walks of life, ethnicities and ages. Have you ever found yourself wondering about the spiritual lives of the people all around you?

Through our survey of Oklahomans, we found out the details about all those people you see in those lines with you. You can examine the research for yourself in the new eBook, Hidden Harvest: Discovering Oklahoma’s Unchurched. From our survey analysis we can estimate that six out of 10 Oklahomans (2.3 million) are unchurched.

But here is how those numbers break down at the shopping center. Next time you go shopping, look around you at the other shoppers and count out 10 people waiting in the checkout lines with you. Based on our research, it is very likely that only four of the 10 people are active in their local church. Six of them are unchurched. Of the six, three of them used to go to church, but they have stopped for some reason, and two of them have never gone to church at all. Never. The last person is likely to be an inactive participant of a non-Christian group.

Here are some more details about church participation in Oklahoma:

Churched: Our survey focused on the unchurched population, but based on our study, we can project that approximately 40 percent of Oklahomans participate regularly in church. That sounds encouraging, but we need to keep in mind that this means they attend church more than every six months. It is probable that, on an average Sunday, only 25-33 percent are actually sitting in church on any given Sunday.

DeChurched: We estimate that 31 percent of unchurched Oklahomans have a church background. These people tend to have beliefs that are consistent with basic Christianity, though they may not have an accurate understanding of the Gospel or have made a profession of faith in Christ.

Nones: About 23 percent of our state’s population have no religious affiliation of any kind. If asked what their religious preference in a survey, they check “none.”

Other Religion: We estimate 6 percent of the unchurched are deactivated members of other religious non-Christian groups.

Visit OklahomaChurchPlanting.com to download a free copy of the ebook, Hidden Harvest: Discovering Oklahoma’s Unchurched.

Author: Chris Forbes

BGCO Church Planting Strategist

View more articles by Chris Forbes.

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