We often describe ourselves as a church without walls -- Isn't it amazing how we manage to gather like this online? I love it! Anyway, today I wanted to tell you a little bit about who is in our church.
As you know, we did a SUM community survey recently. Reading through those responses it was so good to see your names and a little more about your lives.
So I thought you, too, might like to hear a little more about who your friends at SUM are. Below, I'll share a few of the questions we asked in the survey, and what the answers were.
Where does our community live?
All over! Most (70%) live in the USA, followed by a decent proportion in Europe. We have a smaller number in Australia and New Zealand, and some in Africa. I can't express how much I love that spread -- it's so beautiful.
And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations (Matt 24:14, NKJV)
How did our SUM community members become spiritually mismatched?
Here's what our community said:
My spouse lost their faith: 6%
I became a Christian after marrying: 27%
I thought my spouse was a Christian before marrying, but perhaps they weren't: 20%
My spouse and I have experienced different rates of spiritual growth to each other: 6%
I married a non-believer: 36%
There is such a range of stories there and each of the above has its own distinct challenges, but I hope it makes you feel less alone seeing that there are at least some out there with the same story as you.
Do our spouses attend church?
About 20% of spouses do attend regularly, and a further 22% occasionally. But the rest don't, so if your spouse never attends with you, you're in good company.
How many of our spouses say they're Christian?
I was surprised by this one: 30% of spouses actually do say they're a Christian, which means that the couple is mismatched even though both are nominally Christians. The rest of the spouses, of course, don't yet say they're Christian, and we do know that quite a few spouses currently say they are atheist. I say 'currently' on purpose. These things change.
Are the spouses supportive?
Here's what our community said:
A lot: 30%
A little: 20%
Not at all: 10%
Again, I hadn't realized so many were that supportive. But clearly there is a need for our ministry even if an unbelieving spouse is supportive. The loneliness of the walk likely makes it so. For those whose spouses are not yet supportive I am praying for you specifically right now.
What kinds of churches do we attend?
Our community attends all kinds of denominations. The most prevalent is non-denominational or Baptist. After that, about 10% attend protestant denominations (Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Church of Ireland), 10% Pentecostal, and about 10% don't currently attend church.
How long have our people been with us?
About 15% of our readers found us less than a year ago. If that's you, welcome! This tells us it's important that we keep writing about some of those common issues such as attending church alone and raising kids in faith. However, almost half of our readers have been with us for more than five years, and many for more than ten years. Amazing! We are a community that has been together a long time.
And finally.... What does our community look like, faith-wise?
This last section really opened my eyes. We asked two questions here: Do you have regular time alone with God, and how often do you read the Bible? The vast majority of our readers said they spend daily time alone with God, and daily time reading the Bible.
That tells us something about our specific church. We are not lukewarm, we're the opposite. We are all passionate followers of Jesus Christ, and that's exactly why we need this ministry and why we gather here.
My friends, there's more to the survey and I'll share more eventually, but I hope that gave you more of a picture of who's here.
What else would you like to know about us and this community? Pop any questions in the comments and I'll answer them.
We all love you!
Ann (and team)