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Old 10-17-2013, 07:51 AM
 
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Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore | Steve McSwain

Trends Impacting Church Decline:
1. The demographic remapping of America.
Whites are the majority today at 64 percent. In 30 to 40 years, they will be the minority. One in every three people you meet on the street in three to four decades will be of Hispanic origin. In other words, if you are not reaching Hispanics today, your church's shelf life is already in question.
Furthermore, America is aging. Go into almost any traditional, mainline church in America, observe the attendees and you'll quickly see a disproportionate number of gray-headed folks in comparison to all the others. According to Pew Research, every day for the next 16 years, 10,000 new baby boomers will enter retirement. If you cannot see where this is headed, my friend, there is not much you can see.
2. Technology.
Technology is changing everything we do, including how we "do" church. Yet, there are scores of churches that are still operating in the age of the Industrial Revolution. Instead of embracing the technology and adapting their worship experiences to include the technology, scores of traditional churches, mainline Protestant, and almost all Catholic churches do not utilize the very instruments that, without which, few Millennials would know how to communicate or interact.
However, when I suggest to pastors and priests, as I frequently do, that they should use social media and, even in worship, they should, for example, right smack in the middle of a sermon, ask the youth and young adults to text their questions about the sermon's topic... that you'll retrieve them on your smartphone... and, before dismissing, answer the three best questions about today's sermon, most of the ministers look at me as if I've lost my mind. What they should be more concerned about is why the Millennials have little or no interest in what they have to say.
3. Leadership Crisis
Enough has been written about this in the past. But you can be sure, clergy abuse, the cover-up by the Church, and fundamentalist preachers and congregations have been driving people away from the Church, and continue to drive people away, faster than any other causes combined.
4. Competition
People have more choices on weekends than simply going to church. Further, the feelings of shame and guilt many people used to feel and church leaders used to promote for not attending church every week is gone.
There are still those, however, who want to categorize Christians as an explanation for the church's decline in attendance in a futile effort to make things not look so bad. But this, too, is the illusion that many church leaders and denominational executives are perpetrating but nobody is paying attention. They are just too blind to see that.
For example, in the very same article I referenced above, Ed Stetzer has concocted three different categories of Christians he conveniently thinks explains the dire situation faced by the church.
He says there is a kind of "classification" system between those who "profess Christianity" as their faith choice.
  • First, he says there are cultural Christians or those who "believe" themselves to be Christians simply because their culture says they are. But, clearly, he implies they are not.
  • Second, he classifies a group of congregational Christians which he says are not much better off than the first misguided group, except that these are loosely connected to the church.
  • Third, he notes the third group, which no doubt he ranks as "his" group, that he calls the convictional Christians. These are the true Christians who are actually living their faith, according to Ed Stetzer.
I've got news for you, Mr. Stetzer, there are scores of people who have left the church, not because they possess some phony or inferior faith, as you would like to believe, but precisely because they do not want to be around judgmental people like you. They have left, not to abandon their faith, but precisely because they wish to preserve it. You would be much better off to leave the judgment-making to Someone infinitely more qualified to do so (Matt. 7:1).
5. Religious Pluralism
Speaking of competition, there is a fifth trend impacting the decline of the church in America. People have more choices today. Credit this to the social changes in the '60s, to the Internet, to the influx of immigrants and minorities, to whatever you'd like, but the fact is, people today meet other people today of entirely different faith traditions and, if they are discovering anything at all, it is that there are scores of people who live as much, if not more, like Christ than many of the Christians they used to sit beside in church.
The diversity of this nation is only going to expand. Which is why, you might debate some of Diana Eck's conclusions, the Harvard scholar and researcher, but her basic premise in correctly stated in the title of her book, A New Religious America: How a 'Christian Country' Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation.
6. The "Contemporary" Worship Experience
This, too, has contributed to the decline of the church. It's been the trend in the last couple of decades for traditional, mainline churches to pretend to be something they're not. Many of them have experimented with praise bands, the installation of screens, praise music, leisure dress on the platform, and... well... you know how well that's been received.
Frankly, it has largely proven to be a fatal mistake. Of course, there are exceptions to this everywhere and especially in those churches where there is an un-traditional look already, staging, an amphitheater-style seating, as well as the budget to hire the finest musicians to perform for worship. In traditional, mainline churches, however, trying to make a stained-glass atmosphere pass as the contemporary worship place has met with about as much success as a karaoke singer auditioning for The X Factor.
7. Phony Advertising
There's one more trend I'll mention I believe is having devastating impact on the Church and most certainly contributing to its decline. You cannot tell Millennials that your church welcomes everybody -- that all can come to Jesus -- and then, when they come, what they find are few mixed races or no mixed couples.
You cannot say, "Everybody is welcome here if, by that, you really mean, so long as you're like the rest of us, straight and in a traditional family."
In the words of Rachel Evans, a millennial herself and a blogger for CNN, "Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters."
In other words, cut the bull. If everyone is not really equally welcomed to the table at your church, stop advertising that you are open to anyone. That is not only a lie, but Millennials can see through the phony façade as clearly as an astronomer, looking through the Hubble telescope, can see the infinity of space.
There are other trends. These are just a few of them. In Part Two, I'll offer some "best practices" I think the Church should seriously consider if it ever plans to get real and honest about its future and its influence on culture and society


What are your thoughts on this article???
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:08 AM
 
Location: california
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I had a comment that this kind of thing does more dammage than good, but truth is truth . I cannot deny that.

Last edited by arleigh; 10-17-2013 at 08:31 AM..
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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There's a lot to it.

I think one thing that's missing from the list, namely that churches are non-demanding of their congregants. Not in terms of hounding them half to death, but rather in terms of making them understand how participating in the life of the church is important. For example, how do you attend church on Sunday morning with your family but don't ask your children to take part in youth activities? How do you attend church on Sunday morning and don't participate in the church's outreach to the poor and the troubled? How do you attend church on Sunday morning but enjoy Sunday brunch at a country club where bigotry against blacks and jews is etched in to the bylaws? For the act of Christianity is more than receiving the word on Sunday morning, but pouring it back out into the community in hundreds of small yet important ways.

In that sense, one of the things that drives me batty are people who say they are spiritual, but not religious. The problem is that Christ taught we are a community and should worship as a community. I mean, he does say that when two or more are gathered in my name, right? For we are to support one another in our spiritual lives, and that requires participation. It's not about saying 'Amen' at the end of an inspiring sermon. It's saying words of comfort and hope to a person who has neither. It's about hearing the Word in church, but it's more about living the Word rather than simply parroting it.

You know the people I'm talking about: The ones who simply cannot wait to quote scripture to anyone and everyone they see. Yet I offer that this is actually committing the sin of pride. Even Christ advises to offer the Word of God IF they are ready for it. Sometimes that takes building a great deal of trust with a person who is broken by the world and sees those evangelizing Christians as just looking for another scalp to bring back to church. The cynicism exists for a reason after all.

I also think a big part of the problem is the entertainment disease. Megachurches have had a nice run of it, but there's research showing that the upcoming generation is already beginning to migrate back to more traditional and liturgical churches. Because the contemporary services embrace a philosophy of pursuing the Next Thing in music or presentation in order to teach what is timeless. There's an inner contradiction there that they're not even aware of, yet the upcoming generation of Christians see it. And given how God exists in the quiet places of the heart, how can you be attuned to what He's saying with the rock bands and the constant noise?

Finally, I think item #3 is huge. The Catholic church is the obvious example with the child molestation scandal, but have you noticed how the new pope is turning heads because of his attempts to strip away the luxurious trappings of the church? This is a pope who seems to take the Gospels seriously in his own life and teachings by example. I am rather encouraged by what he is doing and hope he is up to the power struggles ahead.

On the other end of the spectrum, the megachurches have deep and profound leadership problems. In my own city the pastor of the largest megachurch is earning a large salary, lives in a million-dollar home in a gated community, and takes his kids to Disney World multiple times each year. Is that really living the Gospels? When he hires in an assistant pastor who was fired by his church in Louisiana for canoodling with his assistant a scant four months ago, is that sending the right message? To be sure, I don't expect a rector to live in a refrigerator carton under the interstate. But he shouldn't be in it for large financial gain, either.

So when you have the twin examples of corruption in both Catholicism and Fundamental Christianity, the two most vocal portions of the faith, people tend to associate the faith with the examples they set.

And that is deeply sad to me, for Christianity is as much an ethical mindset as it an approach to God. It is about attitude, not legalisms. Christ's message is about how we treat one another and how we should live humble lives. I am in a Christian counseling course right now, and one of the things that is taught to us time and again is that we are to show people how to live through our own lives, not tell them how to live, for our acts speak so much more loudly than our words. So we do not shout passages of scripture at them, for that is really vanity and an agenda in action. Instead, we are to demonstrate our Christianity through our love and concern for others. The theology can come later once there is actual trust in place.

Yes, it's done imperfectly by us all. I falter every single day and fully admit that to myself and others. But it's far more effective than proselytizing aggressively yet living a life that is subject to serious question.
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arleigh View Post
I don't know where your at or where the information originaltes, but there are many churches have 4 services in the morning several hundred at a time. and growing. I see more an more blacks and hespanics the I ever did before, no longer isolating them selves . Even smaller ethnic churches are seeing participation of the white community as well.I have enven noticed that even cult churched parking lots are brim full on sunday as well. Not challanging you just wondering where your info comes from
It just a article I posted from huffingtonpost and wondered what other options are on it. I didnt write it.

4. Competition
I agree there is alot of competion between churches now. Where someone goes can come down to what church as programs for their kids, does the church hve a live praise band, or does the service finish in under 1hr - 1hr 30 mins.

As for #7 and Phony Advertising, everyone is welcomed to churches (in a perfect world), but people will tend to gravitate towards what makes them feel comfortable. I know some time is a black person goes to a all white church they may not feel comfortable there and sometimes the members give them the look like hwy are you here. The same can go for a white person that went to a all black church and the politics of America comes up and what blacks have gone through and it will make them feel uncomfortable. I personally have not seen too many well mixed churches out there, im sure some do exists, but in Atlanta here, it usual, majority black, white, asian, or Hispanic.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: california
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As I see it ,there are a few people waking up to the truth,that it isn't the building, but a relationship with God that makes the body of believers. And it's not Paul's askewed teaching of God compromising with sin (grace) (Which is not Jesus gospel) , but an accountable relationship of obedience via the Holy Spirit, unto God; Jesus taught, and demostrated, and expects of His believers. Notibly these are, as Jesus said, very few . If Jesus lordship is not intact in a person's life noble deeds are not enough ,nor is education or large investments . These things men are distracted with doing, but are not obedience, unless done on His own instruction, and not that of men,or to impress men. Matthew 7; 21,22,23, John 15; There is nothing wrong with very large congrigations ,certianly heaven will have several thousand at one time making praise, don't you think?
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:13 AM
Status: "Watching America made small." (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Churches offer yesterday's answers to today's problems. They are an anachronism.

Savvy youngsters are wise to that and look elsewhere for spiritual nourishment.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:35 AM
 
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2 other things that are causing the decline in church attendance are.

Technology
I think another thing is technology is causing this too. Take Andy Stanley's church for example or many other large churches, they are huge, but if you dont want to deal with all the hassle of crowds and traffic, you can watch it online at home. I know many small churches stream their messages on ustream or other free streaming sites as well also, which leads to some thinking I can get the same Gospel in the comfort of their bed.

Overly Sensitive People
I cant recall how many people that I have seen in church for many years and they get a insensitive comment from someone, or take the comment way to serious and they leave the church and stay home. 5-10 yrs gone over 1 comment or question. Yet when they are at their job, people say 5-10 times worse comments to them and they show up everyday with a smile to the person.
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:40 AM
 
Location: New England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAAN View Post
2 other things that are causing the decline in church attendance are.

Overly Sensitive People
I cant recall how many people that I have seen in church for many years and they get a insensitive comment from someone, or take the comment way to serious and they leave the church and stay home. 5-10 yrs gone over 1 comment or question. Yet when they are at their job, people say 5-10 times worse comments to them and they show up everyday with a smile to the person.
I agree with this more than any of the others. Young people could theoretically make more of a church community if they chose to become involved - they could provide technology and whatever else would work for them. But the young people are not there. They have chosen to do more rewarding things with their weekends than listening to a bunch of squabbling old ladies in the pews, and pastors/priests giving boring, outdated sermons/homilies on topics they can hardly relate to. Some churches are great about turning the "old church" on its head and their attendance shows it - mostly protestant, or protestant-derivative churches, but unfortunately no Catholic church I've ever attended. You might call these young folks "overly sensitive" but I would wager they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they feel it. Who will force themselves to go (probably alone) to a place during their precious time off where they can expect nothing but the fish-out-of-water treatment? There needs to be more community at the church, and inclusive community at that - barring this, nothing will go forward in any church.
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SAAN View Post
Overly Sensitive People
I cant recall how many people that I have seen in church for many years and they get a insensitive comment from someone, or take the comment way to serious and they leave the church and stay home. 5-10 yrs gone over 1 comment or question. Yet when they are at their job, people say 5-10 times worse comments to them and they show up everyday with a smile to the person.
This was my mom!! We must have moved to different churches as much as we moved to different cities! We could have been there for two years. If the pastor or somebody said something she didn't like, we were out of there for good. It was ridiculous!
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
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There is one simple way to explain why people are not in church. They have no love respect of faith in God and no desire to live by His will or worship HIM. They have other things to do that are more important to them than their relationship with God.
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