Original Research - Practical Theology

Getting young adults back to church: A marketing approach

Michelle C. van der Merwe, Anské F. Grobler, Arien Strasheim, Lizré Orton
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 2 | a1326 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i2.1326 | © 2013 Michelle C. van der Merwe, Anské F. Grobler, Arien Strasheim, Lizré Orton | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2012 | Published: 04 April 2013

About the author(s)

Michelle C. van der Merwe, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Anské F. Grobler, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Arien Strasheim, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Lizré Orton, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Worldwide, church membership is decreasing. A decline in the number of young adults that attend church services is also evident. The purpose of the research was to determine whether the application of a well-established body of knowledge of marketing theories and principles could be used by churches to encourage young adults to return to the church. The application of services marketing to the church as a non-profit organisation is discussed by focussing on non-physical and physical atmospheric cues in the church’s servicescape that could enhance church attendance. A quantitative approach was used by testing the opinions of 200 church service attendees of different denominations. The findings indicated that certain elements in the servicescape of a church may be useful in attracting young adults. It was found that music is a strong determinant of whether young adults attend church services, followed by layout and design of the church and then by the signs and symbols used in the church. Females reported significantly higher levels of positive perceptions concerning the layout and design. Although the research showed that some marketing elements, such as a positive servicescape, could improve church attendance, other personal elements such as forming personal relationships with fellow Christians and God need to be further explored.

Keywords

Church attendance; services marketing; young adults

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