Look at the census data and you’ll believe the Catholic, Anglican, Uniting and Presbyterian churches are the largest in Australia. Lots of people identify with these churches.
Look at popular thinking and you might believe that the Pentecostal juggernaut is sweeping all before it.
But when it comes to bums on seats where do people go. The Christian Research Association has analysed the census data and social surveys to estimate who is involved in the life of their church once a month or more. The results may surprise you.
The Catholic Church is far and away the biggest. They put almost as many bums on seats as everyone else put together. The Anglican Church comes next with just over 200,00o people actively involved, and the Baptists are third.
Interestingly, for all their profile, the Pentecostal churches have only the fifth largest number of bums on seats.
All up, over 3 million Australians are involved monthly or more, making church going one of the most significant activities in Australia’s social life.