Religious organizations operate churches, temples, monasteries, mosques, and similar places of worship. The largest groups include Christians, Muslims, and Hindus; major types of Christian churches include Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox.
Demand is driven by consumers' desire for spiritual growth, guidance, inspiration, and demographics -- older Americans are most likely to attend church. The profitability of a church depends primarily on the congregation's ability to attract members who can provide financial support. Large congregations have advantages in their ability to offer more programs and activities. Small congregations can compete effectively by maintaining stronger connections with members. More than half of Americans belong to a church or synagogue, while about one-quarter of Americans say they attend services once a week or more, according to Gallup.
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Religious congregations are similar to charitable organizations, in that they solicit money in various ways to fund charitable and educational programs, often called missions or ministries. These programs most often benefit congregation members or members of the community in which the church is located. Some churches may also have programs aimed at communities elsewhere in the US or overseas.