Why Nobody Wants to go to Church Anymore

why2The authors of this book strive to convince us that things aren’t so good for the church in America right now. Using referenced statistics they provide evidence that church attendance is shrinking now at an alarmingly exponential rate. It is an optimistic read however in that the authors also believe there is an answer, and that it’s not too late to salvage the church in America.

Quoting: Is it possible to create an environment where people are welcomed and accepted… no matter what they look like? No matter what they say? No matter what they believe? Is it possible for church to be the place where the average person can walk in off the street, warts and all, and be fully embraced? Is it possible for the church to become known as the least judgmental place Americans know?

What if we, the church, acknowledged that we have to make some changes?

6 Basic Needs of (all people) Americans

  • The need to believe life is meaningful and has a purpose.
  • The need for a sense of community and deeper relationships.
  • The need to be listened to and to be heard.
  • The need to feel one is growing in faith.
  • The need to be appreciated and respected.
  • The need for practical help in developing a mature faith.

Make no mistake, people are looking for what Jesus offers. People may be leaving the church, but they’re hungering for God. Consider these encouraging statistics:

  • 91 percent say they believe in God.
  • 88 percent say faith is important.
  • 64 percent are open to pursuing their faith in an environment different from a typical church.

People want God. Just not how the church packages God. They stand on the sidelines, watching Christians living their lives as though God doesn’t really make a difference. Why should they waste their time? End Quote.

The statistics found in this book are staggering… in a very depressing way. Of all of the negative stats regarding church closures, dwindling memberships, and stagnant growth reports, the one that hits closest to home is our failure to retain our youth. In masses, the younger generation, many having spent most or all of their lives in church, are leaving with no intent to return.

I’ve never read anything by these authors before, but with a personal interest as stated, it’s worth my time. I couldn’t resist finding out what those four acts might be (spoiler alert), so I share them with you:

  • Radical Hospitality
  • Fearless Conversation
  • Genuine Humility
  • Divine Anticipation

I’ll keep you posted as I read… til’ then, what do you think?

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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17 Responses to Why Nobody Wants to go to Church Anymore

  1. A lot of challenging truth from that book.

    What a shame that the “Six basic needs of all people” are more often fulfilled in a worldly club, a bingo hall, a social club, a craft/hobby group, a sports group etc than in a Church group. At least partly, it is because Church isn’t as welcoming as the clubs, and also because they are not invited

    >> “91 percent say they believe in God. 88 percent say faith is important”
    Those stats are most surprising. I’m sure they wouldn’t be the same here in Australia – far from it! – but whatever the stats, they shouldn’t make a difference to our attitude or our witness to all we meet. Our God isn’t limited by statistics. He is able to save to the uttermost . . . but we are the only reflection of Him that this world will see. When we truly radiate His love, light, truth and grace, He will draw others to Himself.

  2. dojams says:

    I believe that if the people of God would the priority to be the “church” which we are to be, instead of making the priority of going to a building called “the church” we would be more relevant to the world. I have no problem with corporate worship and assembling, but it does not satisfy. Jesus spent more time with “unchurched” people then He did with the “church” people. As a pastor i believe, again, in corporate worship. But once or twice a month I asked my congregation not to come on Sunday morning but go to a neighborhood and set up tables with Starbuck coffee and pastries from a bakery shop and invite people to partake, WITHOUT preaching or singing or anything else, just get to know the people FIRST. As relationships are built and there is a constant presence they are willing to hear you talk about Christ as they are now seeing Him through your care. My prayer is that we believers, no matter the denomination, yoke together and illustrate, eliminate and demonstrate the personage of Christ by being who we are, His bride, the CHURCH. i appreciate your posts.

    • mtsweat says:

      Some really good thoughts you offer us. Have you posted this strategy at your site? I think it’s worthy of more discussion. Thank you and blessings.

  3. I’ve known of a big problem with younger people especially. Let us know with a follow up. Thank you!!

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Levi. I heard mentioned last night (in church) of the separatist influence of social media. The question to consider was whether texting and such is driving us into seclusion?

      • I think it may have a little influence but I really think a lot of it is the churches problem as well. These young people that I deal with want honest questions answered and they most starve for fellowship in smaller group settings where they can ask questions and get them answered. I deal with this type thing a lot. That’s just one thing I’ve observed.

        • mtsweat says:

          There may then be something to the author’s 4 acts, radical hospitality and fearless conversation especially. Good piece of input you gift us with Levi.

  4. Clark Bunch says:

    The SBC is just now admitting they know and have known the problem is worse than reported. And just like the overall numbers, the millennial numbers are the lowest of all demographics.

    Church attendance has fallen off but the number of people who do not identify with any religious preference is on the rise. The “nones” make up one-fifth of the adult population, and a full third of adults under age 30. 13 million Americans, 6% of the population, identify themselves as atheist or agnostic. Another 33 million have particular religious affiliation, though as noted above many still claim to believe in God.. or at least something.

    We know that before the end comes there will be a great falling away. What we must be certain of, now more than ever, is that what we are sharing is true to the Gospel. The fields are white unto harvest and as the laborers grow even fewer we must be sure we are offering the really good stuff. Of the church attendance still taking place, how many of those are getting health & prosperity fluff or even worse false teaching? We must be true to the Gospel we were given, as if there was any other.

    I like drinking coffee and reading paperbacks, enjoy praise and worship music and cool graphic presentations. All of those things can help us or distract us from showing the world Jesus.

    • mtsweat says:

      Your comments stand leaving little if anything to add. We have a message, “God is Near.” How’s that? More soon to follow on your recently published book friend, but I must say here, it is an excellent and fresh presentation of God’s story fulfilled in Jesus’ Gospel. I hope to soon get some feedback out of a couple youngsters that I placed your work into their hands.

  5. Jim says:

    Barna came out with a book in 2005 where he was sounding the alarm. It was staggering then, because he discovered that strong believers were the ones leaving the church in droves. When asked why they were leaving, the overwhelming response was they were attempting to salvage their faith.

    The problem is not that the church isn’t welcoming to everybody. Please! I think the root of the problem is that the church, in its quest to be relevant to “seekers”, has become totally irrelevant to them. They can find a GREAT band at the bar on Saturday night, and the waitresses dress better than the worship team girls! Barnes and Noble and the internet have everything and anything they might need to learn whatever they might think they would learn at church. For an added bonus, because the church has stripped away those things that believers truly need to attract the “seeker”, the church is becoming irrelevant for US. I only go out of obedience, not because there is anything there for me!

    What is needed is a return to a church model of “called out” ones. Where the church gatherings are for those who have been rescued and redeemed, not entertaining those who aren’t, haven’t been or may never be redeemed.

    We need the church to be a place where believers want to come to! Where we can be taught what it means to faithfully follow the Master and by so doing, impact our jobs, neighborhoods, families and friends.

    Sadly, we won’t do that. I guess it is possible that we will. I’m just not going to bet on it!

    • mtsweat says:

      “We need the church to be a place where believers want to come to! Where we can be taught what it means to faithfully follow the Master and by so doing, impact our jobs, neighborhoods, families and friends.” ~ well said.

  6. This is such a sad statistic… I like the four suggestions listed here, but of course would couple them with LOTS of prayer and solid teaching from God’s Word! People crave love, to be sure, but they also want Truth and to see God moving… thanks for your post!

  7. Thanks for sharing. Feel free to share your inspirational posts at Godinterest (the Pinterest for Christians). God Bless Your Ministry

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