According to Barna’s research among practicing Christians in the Households of Faith report of 2020, mothers are more likely to provide encouragement, advice and sympathy to their teenagers than fathers. Strange though that when those teenagers are more likely to seek out their mothers more often than their fathers to discuss faith, the Bible and things that bother them, you would think their mothers could motivate them enough to get a living faith. Though on a variety of dimensions of activity, these Christian women appear to be more present in the lives of their children than men, it could well be that by their lesser attendance of a church, the kids also stopped being interested in church-life.
In 2009, 48 percent of women attended church at least once a week, but, in less than a decade, the share has dropped to 31 percent. During the same period of time, the share of men who attended church at least weekly declined 12 percentage points. While there used to be a gender gap in attendance, that is clearly no longer the case.
In an interview with Christianity Today in 2012, Ed Stetzer shared that according to LifeWay research among young adults who had attended church regularly for at least a year in high school, 70% stop attending regularly for at least a year between ages 18-22. However, 35% of these had returned to attending twice a month or more by the time they were surveyed for the study.
This survey gave not a nice picture of that so-called Christian world. When we do know that about 4 out of 10 kids leave the church and never return, churches should question why they are left out after some time. Why is it that young people lose interest in the church their parents went to for so many years?
In the United States for years certain evangelical churches grew a lot. They attracted people with their shows. They offered musical entertainment that attracted lots of youngsters. After a while that entertainment could not have any more the same impact as ten or twenty years ago. The churchgoers also were confronted by pastors who asked for more money to keep their church going. All this fuss about the greater demand for money and funds for the church began to excite churchgoers as they saw many reports in the press of pastors swimming in money and not being shy to buy expensive cars or even several aeroplanes, while their church members were often struggling to survive. The waste of money by those clerics made ordinary citizens and churchgoers question the true commitment of those clerics.
The many sex scandals in the Catholic Church were followed by the sex scandals in the Protestant Church, which led a lot of people to conclude that many of these clerics were moochers and preached things they themselves did not adhere to. Especially since they then gave thunderous sermons from the pulpit and scared people that they would end up in hellfire for eternity made that their hypocritical attitude was no longer taken, and very many left those churches.
The more frequent occurrence of divorcing households has also meant that in many broken families, time was no longer taken to attend church regularly, gradually eliminating the entire sense of faith experience.
The American Worldview Inventory 2020 conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University and the Barna organization noted that seven out of 10 adults (71%) claim to support traditional moral values in America today. However, the same survey highlighted significant transitions in the public perception of the Bible’s role in defining traditional moral values.
Nowadays, most people are more concerned with entertainment and personal enjoyment, and many feel that the church stands in the way of this. That’s why so many also leave the church and seek out places that give them pleasure or entertainment.
In the back rooms of this world, however, a shift may be noted that is gradually causing seekers to find each other and form smaller communities where people want to serve God in purity.
That movement taking place across many capitalist countries may make us hope that the church is not dead yet. She may have been dormant in many countries, but after the house-churches movement of the 1990s, after the hurricane of scandals, a clean-up and recovery is now underway, whereby well-heeled people show that they have never lost faith in God, but have seen the value or badness of certain churches.
It’s no secret that the rate of the religiously unaffiliated has risen significantly in the last 30 years, and church attendance has declined as well.
Several who left as youngsters are now as adults looking for true believers and churches where the focus is on God and His son Jesus Christ. They came to the understanding that the quality of a person’s relationship with God is not determined by how often he or she goes to church. They are now fully aware that one can reach God everywhere and that we are not limited to a church building. God’s love for His children is not based on the number of times they attend formal services.
Next: There is prosperity to come
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