The Church Is Not Interesting For The Young People Is It True

The decreasing number of youth attending conventions has become a worldwide fact. One of the findings of a Barna Group survey (which is written in the book You Lost Me) on Christians aged 18-29 years in America shows that 59% of respondents who used to attend church regularly have stopped attending church.

The survey results show that 91.8% of Christian youth in US still regularly attend church services, both public worship and youth or youth services. The recommended routine is at least 2 to 3 times in 1 month. This may look good at first, but let’s take a closer look at the details.

The percentage of adolescents who do not regularly worship increases with age group. In the age range of 15-18 years, the number of adolescents who do not worship regularly is 7.7%, increasing to 10.2% at the age of 19-22 years, and reaching 13.7% at the age of 23-25. The increase occurred consistently and even almost 100% when viewed from the youngest age range to the adult age range. It can be predicted that the percentage will be higher in the next age range.

Then, what about the potential for leaving the church for the 91.8% who still worship regularly? Let’s take a look at their strongest reason or motivation for attending regularly. As many as 33.3% of them said they love Jesus and 29.0% because they feel it has become a habit or even an obligation. Just 19.4% came on the grounds that they required profound food and needed to love Jesus, and 11.0% were content with youth exercises/love. Each of these reasons has its own potential. Those who come regularly because of obligations, be it ministry or family, have the potential to leave the church if they get freedom.

Meanwhile, those who come for spiritual food have the potential to move to another church if they do not get food that suits their nutritional needs. So it can be said that 1 in 3 Christian teenagers who are diligent in church have the potential to no longer attend church regularly and 1 in 5 Christian teenagers who are diligent in church have the potential to move to another church.

What about the non-routine? What are their reasons for stopping going to church? A total of 28.2% said that there were many interesting activities outside the church, 21.2% felt that the church leadership/leadership was bad, 12.4% considered the form of worship to be unattractive, and 11.2% felt a lot of pretense in the church. The leaders or leadership in question include Vision (there is no big and challenging vision), Engagement (not involving young people in service responsibilities), and Disconnect (not understanding the mindset of young people because they are old-fashioned and authoritarian). It can be said that 61.8% of youth feel that the church is unattractive and unsuitable for them.

On the other hand, what activities are the most beneficial according to the youth who come regularly? 59.7% of respondents said that the Sunday sermon was the most beneficial for them and 17.5% benefited the most from the opportunity given to serve. As many as 11.5% feel most blessed by the Bible Study or Seminars. We can see that the 2 most beneficial activities for frequent youths are the same as the 2 biggest reasons for those who have left church. This shows that the most important thing youth are looking for is preaching and service opportunities.

Meanwhile, other data in this survey shows that for teenagers who feel that the sermons delivered are useful and relevant to their lives, there are 93.9% of respondents who attend worship regularly, while for those who do not feel, there are only 63.7%. It can be said that teenagers who receive sermons that are useless and irrelevant to their lives are 6 times more likely to leave the church.

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Similar to the relevance of preaching, the survey results also show a significant difference between churches that encourage them to be involved in ministry and those that do not. There are 95.2% of youth who regularly worship at churches that encourage them to join the ministry, while for churches that do not encourage them, there are only 72.9% who do routinely. In other words, adolescents who receive no encouragement from the church to serve will be 5 times more likely to leave the church.

What can the church do?

1. Intensive coaching for leaders, including the ability to deliver sermons

The survey results show that today’s young generation expect sermons that are relevant and useful for life. They are also happy if given a big vision in and challenging. In addition, they also want to be involved in service responsibilities. Of course, the communication that is carried out both in sermons and in ministry needs to be adapted to the mindset of today’s young generation. If all these things are not accommodated then the church will be considered no longer useful and even unsuitable for them. They will choose other activities outside the church which are considered more interesting, more useful and more comfortable for them. Meanwhile, the church will be increasingly abandoned.

2. Survey of the congregation to get input

Each member of the congregation in a local church has their own uniqueness and needs. These needs can easily change along with the times and the existing social dynamics. Therefore, the church needs to survey the needs of the congregation on a regular basis and get input to improve services. There are various ways that can be done.

The simplest and most effective way is to make regular visits to church members. In this way, church members can convey directly in more detail what their needs and problems are in their hearts. In addition, it can also strengthen the relationship between church leaders and members. However, this method is highly dependent on the ratio of the number of families to the number of available Servants of God who make visits.

Another way that can be done is by distributing questionnaires to church members. Of course the questions are made as good as possible so that the results obtained are clear enough so that they can be taken into consideration for decision making.

3. Cut church bureaucracy and reduce synod centralization

Often the long church bureaucracy and synod centralization make decision-making time consuming. On the other hand, young people who live in an era that is very practical and easy to communicate like today requires quick decisions. Slow-paced decisions will make young people lazy to get involved in church ministry. In addition, reducing bureaucracy and reducing centralization can increase the freedom of young people to be creative in carrying out service tasks, as long as they are within the given limits. Of course this means a lot to them, because in other words the church appreciates them through giving them more trust to carry out their responsibilities, especially in terms of decision making. They are no longer just carrying out the decisions of seniors in the church.