Google Ranks Jesus and Church by City

Do you like stats like I do? Who doesn’t, right. We keep stats on our blogs, individual posts, just about everything that is run on the Internet is backed by some kind of stat. Because of the way the Internet works, stats and trends have become huge on the Internet.  Once something that was important for businesses alone can now be utilized by individuals and churches too.

From Google Trends to Jesus and the Church

Google’s innovations over the past several years has been incredible, but they make everything publicly available, and for the most part free. One of the tools I really like from Google is Google Analytics. This is basically a supped up version of your basic stat counter, but if for your own site.

If your looking for something more Internet wide, you need Google Trends. So as I am looking around today, I wonder, where does Jesus rank among churches. I did this in two different formats, one utilizing Twitter’s api of words, and once with Google trends, and they both showed just about the same thing.

Are Christians Different Than Anyone Else?

I was listening to a story from our pastor yesterday, who just got back from Uganda (see Adjusting Back), about someone he was trying to share the gospel message with on the trip. Their response to Josh was “I know people who say they are Christians, and they are no different from anyone else”.

It was sad to hear because it was the truth from his eyes. But that was in Africa, surely it is different here in developed worlds, with the Internet. So I dug around a little. This chart is from a site called Flaptor, and the full data for the chart below is here. (All of these charts click through to the original data points.)

I had to shrink this first chart down so you may have to click on the enlarged size to see the detail. Basically, this is from Twitter conversations. The blue graph is for the term church, red is Jesus, and yellow is faith. Of course, those blue points, those are Sunday’s.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the church body, but I don’t think our actions should be any different on Sunday than any other day of the week, but obviously it is on the conversational minds of Twitter on one day, Sunday. So, according to this graph, are Christians different than anyone else?

jesus and the church

Jesus and the Church According to Google Trends

The Interesting thing about Google is how broad reaching their data is and what is covers. These next two charts were just two I pulled out from the Google Trends data. This first chart shows basically the same search terms the one above showed, but for all of the Internet.

church faith jesus

Here the blue line represents church, yellow is Jesus, and red is Faith. You can see the full data here. The peaks are mostly on Sunday here, but if you expand the date range for a year, or all time the data get very interesting. So what are the top ten cities that rank highest on the search term for church? Nashville gets top billing, Atlanta, and Dallas area has two cities that rank all by themselves.

cities jesus church

What is interesting about the city chart to me is how high the church term ranks and how low the other three rank. I would have thought the name of Jesus being what it is would rank much higher when compared to the word church. I guess my question would be, inside those walls of the church, where does Jesus rank? I hope it is higher than the yellow mark on the cities chart above?

The Big One, the Church and Your Money

I thought I would just throw in another chart just for fun. This chart adds the search term money into the mix. Now this isn’t all the different variations of what we call money, it is just the single term of money.

money church jesus faith

No on this chart, Money is green (I didn’t plan it that way, Google just did it), blue is church, yellow is Jesus, and red is Faith. You can see the entire data chart here. Well this chart isn’t really one of a big shocker, but it still shows where we think as a whole people.

What Do We Conclude From All This?

So, what is the point and what do we conclude from all this chart and stat posting. I don’t know, I am not a statistician and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. What do you think it shows? I have been to churches where Jesus has rarely been mentioned at all, and I have been in some Jesus loving churches as well. I think without Jesus the church part is pretty much irrelevant?

To me, if Jesus is not present in the Church, it is just a place for people to go on Sunday mornings to feel better about themselves Once it gets checks off the list they are good until next Sunday. Jesus can exist in true form without the actual church building itself, but the church (as intended in scripture) can not exist without Jesus being present.

So, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

7 thoughts

  1. Very interesting. I do think that a lot of us (in my circle anyway) talk about God & Jesus w/ out using those specific words. We post scripture on twitter a lot.

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  2. True, course I never said it was real scientific or anything, but I think the trends on google are a little more compelling than twitter. Google is going off search terms, not a conversation so that would be what people are looking for without others being involved.

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  3. I like your charts and analysis. I’m not sure your search terms are broad or deep enough to get an accurate view of what people are really looking for via google in terms of church and Jesus. You probably need to compare and contrast with some of the other sins to see a major difference in charts. We can make these charts tell any story we want. 😎

    Another explanation is people are trying to find a church to go to on Sundays. If you look at it in these terms it is very encouraging.

    Heaths last blog post..Father’s Love

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  4. @heath We can make these charts tell any story we want true, but I had to pick something, but I also know we do this with scripture all the time. I like to call it yellow book scriptures, thumb through until you find something you like. Good points.

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  5. I LOVE this post, VERY COOL use of Google Analytics. However, I don’t think tracking the occurences of these words actually shows that we focus on church more than Jesus (although I think we do).

    I mean, technically, and from a scientific point of view, this data is not at all evidence for very much other than those words occur more often online. This may have more to do with the necessity of the word, with how many synonyms there are, with how interesting the subject is, how much there is to write about it, how useful it is to write about it online, etc.

    Well, anyway. Thanks for this awesome post, still. And I’ll definitely now be checking this blog regularly! I found you from your comment at the catablog

    Jesse Phillipss last blog post..Francis’ Crazy Building Project

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  6. Like you said, stats are what we make of them. If we google specific words, we get those results. Change the parameters, we get different results. I can honestly say that I have not googled church, faith or Jesus in a long time. I have googled specific books of the bible or topics. I have also bookmarked areas that I trust and want to go back to. I do think that there are people out there who operate on a Sunday only type of faith. I also think that there are a lot of people who attend church merely because it is a social outing or the right thing to do.

    I had some similar thoughts this morning and posted some comments about the church and if this is what God intended the church to look like. Both from the little c church to the big C church.

    Michaels last blog post..Where are we…

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