According to the study - The Future of the Church - around 930,000 Muslims attended a mosque at least once a week in 2004, just outnumbering the 916,000 regular church goers in the Church of England.
The study also indicated that the number of Christians attending Sunday service could see a two-thirds drop over the next three decades. The current 9.4 per cent of the population currently in regular attendance at Sunday service is expected to be under 5 per cent by 2040.
The study expects that some 18,000 churches will be forced to close their doors as a result of the poor attendance.
Executive director of Christian Research, Peter Brierley, said: “I hope that these findings concentrate minds in what is becoming a real crisis.”
Brierley also said that the study should be a stern “wake-up call” for many church leaders.
According to church figures, which Brierley has been collecting for 40 years, the four main UK denominations, the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, and United Reformed Churches, are all suffering from a long-term decline in attendance figures.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rev Nigel McCulloch, who has also been involved in previous Christian Research reports, said, “The truth is stark”. He said: “What these statistics need to do is to galvanise the Church into realising that it must communicate the gospel where people are or we will not deserve to have a Church.”
Mr Brierley said, however, that the churches had begun to take some initiatives to reverse the downward trend. Whether these initiatives are on the scale that is needed, however, remains to be seen.