The Church in 2014

14 01 2014

I was recently reviewing statistics of the country church in West Virginia at which I was pastor  for over 14 years. For a building that only sat about 150, we were about 1/2 to 3/4 full nearly every Sunday. We had a generous mix of young and old and a thriving Sunday School at all age levels. That was in the 80’s. I find now that many churches (including the city church at which I now as pastor), are missing an entire generation. We had children and teens come and go but not stay. We rarely have young couples drop in and stick around. Our young people are drawn away by many things, distracting them from church. Actually, the value of attending church is about as relevant as using paper maps instead of the GPS on your window. The sense of urgency is just not there. They probably figure that if they wanted to know something about God they could just goggle it.

Too often we level blame on the attitude of our youth today or the pull of the world, flesh, and devil.  It’s not us because the truth of our message never changes. Right?

I believe we have the truth but are not applying it to our culture in relevant ways. We do not find answers to questions being asked or understand trends that dominate our youth.  We answer questions that few are asking and tend to live in the bubble called, “The way things used to be”. In the mean time, our youth are taught that The Bible has contradictions and is believed by gay-bashing, judgmental, uneducated, and hypocritical people.

We not only need better methods but clearer teaching. We need to give a reason for our youth to once again read the Bible and  to become students of its truth. We need  examples of people who flesh-out the truth in their daily lives. We also need to defend the faith against its constant assault by those who seem to have an agenda for its destruction. I close with excerpt from another blogger.

Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
Titus 1:9

Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack

Another evidence that apologetics is needed in churches is that about 70-75% of church teenagers stop attending church after they graduate from high school and only a small number of them ever return to the church (Barna Group, 2007, 2011).

Think about that for a minute. Three out of every four teenagers in Christian churches stop attending church after high school. The next time you’re at church, look around. Visit the youth room, the primary school classes, the pre-school classes, the nursery. Based on statistics, most of the children you see in those classes will not be attending a church after they graduate from high school and most will never return. If your children are still living at home, look at them carefully. Will they attend a church or Bible study regularly after they graduate?

Where are the young adults in churches today? Where are the young families? More than 60% of today’s young adults attended church as children and teens, but are no longer involved. 20% of young adults never attended church as children and have no interest in Christianity. Only 1 in 5 young adults (20%) are still involved in church (defined as attending church at least once a month, Barna Group). I find that terribly sad and unnecessary. It’s obvious there’s something important we’re not doing to help young people understand Christianity and commit to being a permanent follower of Jesus Christ.

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