The following essay argues that worship attendance rates stand in direct competition with current social developments at all times. The author bases his arguments upon the empirical research results found in the sociological study by Martin Engelbrecht “Human–Routine–Worship”, which determined criteria for church attendance. He discovered that people are motivated to participate in routines or rituals based on needs. These needs can be described in the following seven categories: pleasure; self-determination; self-care; locality; sense of purpose; structure and orientation; and aesthetics. Müller focuses more closely on four of these needs and explores how 1) each of these needs is influenced by social change, and 2) how this can affect the decision to participate in worship. Müller emerges with the axiom: these needs describe a person's inner demand on his or her outer world. And while religious worship addresses these inner needs and fulfils them (or not), each and every social (outer) change will correspondingly influence a person's decision to attend worship (or not). The trajectory of worship is always two-way: worship is certainly the product of social change, yet worship can also effect change in society because of its transformative power.
- church attendance
- social change
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