http://www.mclaurinbaptist.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/escape.jpg 360 418 Mclaurin Church http://nychehost.com/mclaurinbaptistchurch/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ogo.jpg Mclaurin Church2017-05-10 00:01:442017-05-10 18:02:22Blog #27: Ten Reasons Church Attenders are Attending Church Less Often
By John Cline
I often ponder about this issue: it is obvious that even committed church attenders are attending church less often. Sure, the trend has been happening for years (gone are the days when people attended 50 out of 52 Sundays), but the issue is reaching a tipping point in the church today. This isn’t about why people have left the church (that’s a different subject.) This issue is about church attenders who love God, appreciate the local church and are even involved in the local church, but who simply attend less often.
A recent online article on this topic gave ten reasons why this trend is occurring. Here is what the author wrote: So why all this attention? This trend isn’t going away…in fact, it’s accelerating. It impacts almost every church regardless of size, denomination or even location. It probably marks a seismic shift in how the church will do ministry in the future. Of course, church attendance is never the goal. But attendance a sign of something deeper that every church leader is going to have to wrestle with over the next few years. The first key to addressing what’s happening is to understand what’s happening.
So…why are even committed attenders attending less often? There are at least 10 reasons.
1. Greater affluence. Money gives people options: technology options; travel options, etc.
2. Higher focus on kids’ activities. A growing number of kids are playing sports which occur on Sundays. And a growing number of kids are playing on teams that require travel.
3. More travel. Despite a wobbly economy, travel is on the rise, both for business and pleasure.
4. Blended and single parent families. Fortunately, more and more blended families and single parent families are finding a home in church but very often the custodial parent for the weekend is not interested in church involvement.
5. Online Options. Many churches have created a social media presence and many podcast their messages. There are pros and cons to online church but online church is here to stay, whether your church participates or not.
6. The cultural disappearance of guilt. When I grew up, I felt guilty about not being in church on a Sunday.The number of people who feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday shrinks daily.I regularly meet people all the time who haven’t been in months but LOVE our church.
7. Self-directed spirituality. People are looking less to churches and leaders to help them grow spiritually, and more to other options. The post-modern mind often involves a declining trust of and reliance on institutions and the church in many people’s minds is seen as an institution.
8. Failure to see a direct benefit. People always make time for the things they value most. If they’re not making time for church, that tells you something.
If declining attendance is an issue, chances are it’s because they don’t see a direct benefit. They don’t see the value in being there week after week.
That could be because there isn’t much value (gut check). Or it could be because there is value that they simply don’t see. Either way, failure to see a direct benefit always results in declining engagement.
9. Valuing attendance over engagement. When someone merely attends church, the likelihood of showing up regularly or even engaging their faith decreases over time. People who serve, give, invite and who are in a community group are the most frequent attenders. Churches need to have engaged people, not merely attenders.
10. A massive culture shift. All of these trends witness to something deeper. Our culture is shifting. Seismically. Church leaders who fail to recognize this will not be able to change rapidly enough to respond to the shifts that are happening.
So, how do we address these new realities? That is an issue requiring prayer but we will look at this more fully in next week’s blog.