THE CHURCH IS NOT INTERESTING FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE, IS IT TRUE?
The dwindling number of teenagers attending services has become a fact in the world. One of the findings of the Barna Group survey (written in the book You Lost Me) on Christians aged 18-29 years in America shows that 59% of respondents who used to regularly come to church have stopped to come to church. What about Christian teenagers in England?
Let’s take a look at the results of the Number Research Center (BRC) survey entitled Spirituality of The Christian Youth in the UK. In 2018, the BRC surveyed 4,095 young Christians (15 -25 years old) spread across 42 cities and districts throughout Inggris.
The survey results showed that 91.8% of Christian teenagers in Inggris are still routine to participate in church worship, both public worship, and youth or youth. A routine that is used is at least 2 to 3 times in 1 month. This may look good at the beginning, but let’s take a closer look at the details.
The percentage of teenagers who do not regularly worship increases with age groups. In the age range of 15-18 years the number of adolescents who do not regularly worship as much as 7.7%, increased to 10.2% at the age of 19-22 years and reached 13.7% at the age of 23-25. The increase occurs consistently and even almost 100% when viewed from the youngest age range to the mature age range. Predictably the higher the percentage in the next age range.
Then, what is the potential to leave the church at 91.8% who still regularly worship? Let’s take a look at their strongest reason or motivation to attend regularly. A total of 33.3% of them said they loved Jesus and 29.0% for feeling it had become a habit or even an obligation. Only 19.4% came because they needed spiritual food and wanted to worship Jesus, and 11.0% were happy with youth activities/worship. Each of these reasons has its potential. Those who come regularly because of obligations, be it service or family, have the potential to leave the church if they have gained freedom. While those who come because of spiritual food have the potential to move to another church if they have not got food that suits their nutritional needs. So it can be said that 1 in 3 Christian teenagers who are diligent to church has the potential to no longer routinely go to church and 1 in 5 Christian teenagers who are diligent to church have the potential to move to another church.
What about the one that’s not routine? What’s their reason for starting to stop coming to church? 28.2% according to the journal from https://fürbitten-taufe.com, there are many interesting activities outside the church, 21.2% feel the leadership of the church is bad, 12.4% rate the form of worship is no longer interesting, and 11.2% feel the amount of pretense in the church. The leaders or leadership in question include Vision (absence of a large and challenging vision), Engagement (does not involve young people in the responsibility of service), and Disconnect (does not understand the mindset of young people because of the colloquial and authoritarian). It can be said that 61.8% of teenagers feel that the church is no longer attractive and not suitable for them.
On the contrary, what are the most rewarding activities according to teenagers who come regularly? 59.7% of respondents said that Sunday sermons were the most beneficial to them and 17.5% benefited the most from the opportunities they were given to serve. A total of 11.5% felt most blessed by the Bible Study or Seminars. We can see that the 2 most beneficial activities for youth who often come equal to the 2 biggest reasons for those who have left the church. It shows that the most important thing that teenagers are looking for is preaching and the opportunity to serve.
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 participate in regular worship, while for those who do not feel, there are only as many as 63.7%. It can be said that teenagers who get useless and irrelevant sermons to their lives will be 6 times more likely to leave the church.
Similar to the relevance of preaching, the survey results also showed significant differences between the churches that encouraged them to engage in ministry with those that did not. There are 95.2% of teenagers who regularly worship in the church who encourage service, while for churches that do not encourage there are only 72.9% who routinely. In other words, teenagers who get 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 results of the survey show that today’s younger generation expects sermons that are relevant and beneficial to life. They are also happy if given a great and challenging vision. They also want to be involved in the responsibility of service. Of course, the communication carried out in both preaching and ministry needs to be adjusted to the mindset of the younger generation today. If all these things are not accommodated then the church will be considered no longer useful and not even suitable for them. They will choose other activities outside the church that are considered more interesting, more useful, and more comfortable for them In the meantime, the church will be increasingly abandoned.
2. Survey of the congregation for input
Each member of the congregation in a local church has its uniqueness and needs. These needs can also easily change along with the times and social dynamics that exist. Therefore, the church needs to conduct regular surveys of the needs of the congregation and get input to improve the ministry. There are all sorts of ways that can be done.
The simplest and most effective way is to make regular visits to members of the congregation. In this way, members of the congregation can convey in more detail what is needed and what is needed in their hearts. It can also strengthen relations between leaders and church members. However, this method depends very much on the ratio of the number of families to the number of availability of Servants of God who make visits.
Another way that can be done is to distribute the questionnaire to members of the congregation. Of course, the question is made as well as possible so that the results obtained are clear enough that they can be considered for decision making.
3. Slash church bureaucracy and reduce synod centralization
Often the church’s long bureaucracy and centralization of synods make decision-making take a very long time. On the other hand, young people who live in an age that is practical and easy to communicate as it today requires quick decisions. A slow decision will make young people lazy to engage in church service. Also, cutting bureaucracy and reducing centralization can increase the freedom of young people to create in performing service duties, as long as it is within the limits given. Of course, this means a lot to them, because in other words, the church values them through the granting of more trust to carry out its responsibilities, especially in terms of decision making. They are no longer just implementing the decisions of the seniors in the church.