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Friendship Boosts Church Attendance

The "best friend" factor is the tie that binds many people to their current congregation. Aside from family members, 39% of respondents said their "best friend" attends the same church, in a survey conducted by the Gallup Organization for Group. Gallup points to the impact in several areas:

• Community life: The best friends in the same congregation attend more regularly than the loners, 72% at least once a week compared to 51% whose best friend attends a different church.

• Belonging: Best friends in the same church feel more connected to the congregation (84% to 71%) and feel like the leaders care for them (82% to 67%).

• Faith: Best friends in the same church feel closer to God and display a more integrated faith. They are more likely to worship and pray daily (69% to 51%) and say their faith is involved in all of life (74% to 54%).

›› Lessons for pastors: Create opportunities for faith-building friendships. Preach a sermon series on the value of friends. And schedule ...

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