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[article.] The Christian Faith on the Brinks of Death

Published on November 27, 2012

On the statistical surface it is evident that the “Jesus is LORD—I heart and follow Jesus—Christian faith” is not only declining but on the brinks of death. Death? No, I’m not using shock value to get you to continue reading. I’m not a drama queen in fact I’m not sure I even have the experience to sound credible.

Look, I’m not even a “real” pastor. Nope. I’m simply a student guy. You know the overworked, underpaid, understaffed, underfunded, least respected guy in “BIG” church—that guy—the one with little voice in senior leadership meetings, if I get invited, and even then my opinion carries little weight. Yeah, so, I’m that guy; take this post with a grain of salt.

Feel free to stop reading. Instead google some dudes brilliant 7 tips to grow your church. I’m sure that will impact the stats and turn generations towards Christ.

I just reread the opening paragraphs. Yep, I agree. I sound like a drama queen on her soapbox. My bad. I promise I’m not. I’m simply concerned and I cannot imagine you are not. You’ve read the same stats from the Barna Group that I have:

• 64% of Christians committed to follow Christ before the age of 18
• 59% of students leave their church once they graduate high school
• 13% of Christians made their profession of faith between the ages of 18 to 21
• Only 23% of Christians professed Jesus as Lord and Savior after their twenty-first birthday

*Stats by the Barna Group.

I’m no mathematician but that’s 77% of Christians committing to follow Jesus before their twenty-second birthday. Yet, the church invests a majority of their time, budget, staffing, volunteers and resources to design a worship experience that attracts those 45 years of age and older (Barna Group). I know I don’t have “Ph.D.” after my name but this is erroneous. No wonder church attendance is on the decline and young people are avoiding church like sixth graders avoid showers (sorry, I’m a youth guy!).

Author of You Lost Me, David Kinnaman, writes in an article titled Five Myths about Young Adult Church Dropouts that, “Young people are dropping out earlier, staying away longer, and if they come back are less likely to see the church as a long-term part of their life.” Why is this the case? Is the church no longer relevant?

Mark Batterson makes a great point, “There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet. If we keep trying to meet new challenges with tired old ideas, I’m afraid we’ll fade into irrelevant oblivion.”

I’m not pretending to know the solution. I’m not smarter than the average 5th grader, however when 9% of the population is attending church, 59% of students leave the church after graduating high school yet 77% of Christians commit to follow Jesus before their twenty-second birthday, we have to admit that we have a crisis in our hands. I simply want to start the conversation.

So let’s start it.  Why is church attendance on the decline? Young people are walking away, are we even relevant anymore? How do we prepare our high school students for college? What do we do differently in our services to attract people under the age of 45? How do we serve those NOT attending church? Is the Christian Faith really on the brinks of death?

Those are not rhetorical questions; I would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment here.

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