I've been thumbing thru a report by a church agency analysing why droves of young people seem to be leaving this denomination. Some of their results are bleeding obvious... but worth saying anyway. And there's some good bits of wisdom in this report. Also, gotta give 'em credit for bravely facing up to the problem, instead of burying their head in the sand.
The top two reasons young people left this particular denomination were:
1. Young people didn't feel accepted, trusted and valued, but ignored and patronised instead. "Old people [have] lost faith in the young people to carry on into the future... [there is a] lack of encouragement to the younger generation, who are often seen "kids" even though they are over 18, because they have grown up in the church".
2. The way this denomination "did church" - their form of public worship - was irrelevant, alienating, and embarrassing. "Church is a foreign world... [it's] not inviting... [it] doesn't relate to [the] community generally and youth in particular".
Interestingly, "visionary leadership" and "relevant teaching" came down the list. They were there, but only ranked 6 and 7. I dunno what to make of that - what do you guys think...?
Here's a couple of good quotes:
"Any church, or movement of churches, will only survive (or expand) in proportion to its ability to produce successive generations of effective leaders. The quantity and quality of those leaders is generally proportional to the size of the pool from which they are drawn. Therefore, each individual loss from a generation, while seemingly insignificant at the time, is profound in terms of its cumulative impact."
"Working on relationships [with the youth] will buy time and create space to work on other issues. Failure will also create space; but it will be an ominous space. It will be a space characterized by the absence of young voices that once clamoured for life-giving change, relevancy and opportunity. It will be a quiet and comfortable space, but so too is a tomb".