- About 10% of the general population attend a church service weekly
- Only 3% of 20-29 year olds attend church
- Half of these are in London
- Between 1979 and 2005 the amount of 15-19s attending church regularly dropped by 69%
- The number of 20-29s dropped by 61% in this period, but was a lot less in the first place.
This has some important consequences for the church. First, for the minority of 20 somethings that do attend church they find themselves alone in a sea of young couples, toddlers and the middle aged. This can be quite an isolating experience. One of my friends was in a small group with people twice her age. It is difficult to feel supported and understood by people who share few, if any, of your problems, no matter how nice or well-meaning they are.
Although a church should never be treated like a dating agency, people in their 20s may be looking for someone with which they can share their life with. They are not going to find it in a church where they are the only one of their demographic.
More worryingly still is what is going to happen to the church in ten or twenty years time. By 2030 we are going to have very few leaders in our churches, and the general population of the church is set to drop. Between 1979 and 2005 church attendance has dropped by 2.2 million in this country and at this rate it's set to continue.
There are various reasons for this. First, because there are simply fewer Christians in this age range. But that is not the only reason. Another reason is probably the culture we have grown up in. My generation has been told that we deserve the perfect partner, the perfect job, and by extension, the perfect church. No church is perfect. The music is going to suck, or the messages may be a bit boring, or the coffee may not be the brand we like.
However, there is a hope. Although we may not find a perfect church we will find this: a perfect God and a perfect salvation.
And this is why we should be going to church. Church is a space to collectively worship and serve our perfect God. Whether we like the music/message/coffee is comparatively irrelevant.
- What's your favourite coffee?
- What do you most enjoy about church (if you go/have been)?
- What do you least enjoy about church (or why don't you go)?