Remy: Welcome to Reflections. This week I'm going to be talking about Why People Don't Go to Church and to help me out I've asked one of the teachers from our church, Christine Ruth. Welcome, Christine.
Christine: Thanks, Remy. It's good to be here.
Remy: Christine, I heard some rough statistics once that said about 50% of 50 years olds attend church, 40% of 40 year olds attend church and that keeps falling to 20% of 20 year olds attend church. I don't like that trend. You're 31, from your perspective, what is it that you think the church is missing?
Christine: I think we lack authenticity. Most of my friends that grew up in the church have left it, and many of them have no church experience whatsoever. I think my generation is rebelling against what we perceive to be a very hypocritical, church that puts more emphasis on going through the motions of church life than authentically putting those beliefs into practice through the exercise of justice, compassion, and genuine community – following the Way of Jesus.
Remy: Will your friends ever come to church? Is there hope for your generation?
Christine: I think there is. The good news is that my generation (20-30 something’s) is very “spiritual”, meaning they’re very interested in the supernatural in general. I read that the spirituality section in bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders has tripled in the last decade. So, I think the church can build on that interest.
Remy: I read an interesting quote from Erwin McManus recently. He said...
"The biting truth is that this country is not rejecting spirituality but Christianity. The indictment that we must receive is that the Christian faith as we express it is no longer seen as a viable spiritual option. ...People are rejecting Christ because of the church!" an Unstoppable Force, p. 29
McManus said that people are rejecting Jesus because of the church! That's got to make you stop and think. What do you think of that?
Christine: The church doesn’t always preach good news. That’s why people reject it. When we preach rules or our pet doctrines or our personal agenda then we lose our audience. People stop listening and look in other places. That’s what happened in my generation.
Remy: I was also struck by another part of the McManus quote. He said that "the Christian faith, AS WE EXPRESS IT is no longer seen as a viable option". He's implying that, if we want to get our message across, we have to improve the way we communicate. Let's talk about that tomorrow.