I just read this provocatively titled post by Brian Mashburn … access it here.
From Brian’s post:
- 65% of the Builder generation attends church
- 35% of the Boomer generation attends
- 15% of Generation X (my generation) attends
- 4% of the Millennials attend
The vote is in. At an exponential rate, the way we do church is not working as a wineskin for delivering the greatest message the world has ever known.
So my question is, what needs to change?
Could it be that churches in the era of the builders and busters were simply more evangelistic than most churches nowadays?
Kevin DeYoung offers another perspective on these kinds of statistics at http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/08/14/beware-the-over-hyped-stat/. I thought you might find it interesting.
I’m not sure what to think about statistics like those cited. But I’m fine with change that remains faithful to Christ and his word. We’re in a church that is a little different anyway–and it’s a little hard to explain (but you probably understand since you’ve been here).
Thank you Terry – sorry for my late response. I will check that out.
To answer the first question:
Because the percentage of Gen X-ers and Millenials who attend church is less than the percentage of Builders and Boomers, then I tentatively assume that most of the former attended church with their families for at least a few years. Despite this, the Builder and Boomer generations may have simply done a poor job passing God’s word on to their children and encouraging them to have a faith in God that was independent of their own beliefs. Faith in God doesn’t happen merely because someone has attended church all their life. Everyone, even church kids, has to be rescued out of the world.
Also — and this is speculation — worship styles (songs, teaching methods, the leadership, etc.) in many of these Builder-Boomer churches have not changed to accommodate the younger generations’ needs and tastes. The older-demographic churches may also fail to adequately address the new, secular issues and sin that are tailor-made to attract young minds. The youth will go where they feel like they belong and their needs are addressed.
I definitely don’t think its about updating worship or music styles, though that may have a bit to do with it. However, I believe I lot of people my age are jaded by the attempts of churches to be modern or trendy. The Emergent Church is an example of these attempts. The church just needs to be genuine. We need to be honest about our mistakes, and honest in our love for others. We can no longer cling to the church as an established institution, relying on its entrenchment in society to support us. We can no longer cling to the Enlightenment view that our religion should remain in the private sphere, hidden away safely from our public lives. We also need to insist that there is a truth in this post-modern world. We need to assert that an arbitrary amalgamation of spiritual practices is in no way more reasonable than the Gospel. And we also need to create an environment in which people can freely test and question what the church teaches, and we need to be prepared to address these concerns and perhaps reform our view of what we think the Gospel is saying if necessary.
It has to do with what the Bible predicts and has nothing to do with us or church methodology. As we creep closer to the end days, the message will become diluted more and more. So we must encourage one another to be firm in the faith as it will become easier to be tossed by winds of changing doctrines and methodologies (i.e. emerging churches, seeker-like churches, Joel Osteen-like gatherings. I say “gathering” because I wouldn’t call his ministry a church, its Christless Christianity)
Ultimately, we’re trying to adapt the gospel message to be better heard or conformed to a perpetually changing world. That is our first mistake. In Matthew, Jesus said, “…I came to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother…” which MEANS…..the gospel of Jesus Christ WILL OFFEND!
Nevertheless, we must be faithful to it because only God knows how we are used
to those who hear the message where their lives are transformed. Amen.
By now I think most of us know that churches are dying all over the country. If we think worship styles is the answer we are missing the point. However, worship styles are one of the problems and always need to be changing to remain revelant. But I believe the bigger picture comes down to this one thing; We (the Church) have turned inward and are no longer sharing the Gospel that saves. He said “Go” and we are saying “come”. I fear it’s really that simple.
The answer is simple. For nearly 2,000 years the Church knew is was here to promote and facilitate the Kingdom of God. For the last 150 or so, the Church has been gradually diluted by the Satanic escapism known as “rapture theology”. As long as God’s people stick their head in the sand and wait for it all to be over, the Church will decline, and the state will take ground.
You will NOT attract young men, nor any real men, with a doctrine of escapism. God gave man dominion over all things, and when the Church spits in his Face and says “we’ll just wait quietly for Jesus to take us away”, we deny God’s plan AND His created order.
If churches take up God’s mission again, they will see the young flock in, because THAT is hope, not begging to be relieved of it all. Get to work…