“I got nothing out of that service,” John told me after church.

“Why do you go to church?” I asked.

“I go because I want to feel better,” he said.

John is not alone. He’s among about half the church-going population that attends a weekly service for some reason other than worshipping God.

Church leaders often assume everyone attends services for the “obvious” reasons–to worship or connect with God. Some people do. But many do not.

We recently polled church-goers to find out why they really make the trek to church. Here’s what they said is the dominant reason they go:

51% go to worship God

10% go to learn something new

8% go to feel better

8% go out of duty–“God wants me to”

5% go for their children

4% go to be with friends

2% go out of habit

1% go because a spouse or friend expects them to go

The remaining people go for a variety of other reasons–to serve others, to confess, to listen to music, etc. Some admitted they don’t really know why they go to church.

And, what’s the takeaway from Sunday morning? For John, it was nothing. Others might mention the pastor’s sermon, or the music, or, in some churches, the special effects.

What’s the right answer? What might God say? I think God loves to see his people gather together to bask in his love, to love him back, and to grow in relationship with him.

Why should people attend your church? And what do you want them to say they experienced while they were there?