Why Do Believers Quit The Church?
The article isn’t on-line or I’d simply link to it but in this month’s Youthworker Journal there’s an article by Steven Todd who reviews Julia Duin’s new book entitled Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do About It.
Naturally, the article mentions a 2002 article in Christianity Today where George Barna issued nine challenges the church needs to work on. Among them were things like “worship is the same-old, same-old,” “watered down theology,” “competition vs. cooperation,” “the Bible isn’t taken seriously enough,” etc.
So, here are a few snippets from Julia Duin, as quoted in Steven Todd’s interview:
[in response to the question of hope for the organized church in the future]
“It’s not going to die tomorrow, but there are some real problems on the horizon. Most churches simply are not relevant to the average person. The typical congregant used to have more free time; but now, people are looking for ways to carve out more free time for themselves, and they see Sunday mornings as a real time-waster.”
[in response to rising attendance at youth ministry large conferences and suggesting they might be bucking the trends she’s seeing]
“All the creativity–what there is of it–is going toward youth ministry. There are some bright lights. The problem is, what happens to these folks once they’re 35?”
[in response to the suggestion that her results could be skewed by a discontented & vocal minority]
“It’s still a significant minority, usually the most experienced people in the church. It’s the over 35 set who have some track with the Lord who are leaving. These are fathers and mothers in a congregation. Churches cannot afford spiritual brain drain. Why would you bore to death and drive off your best members? Calling the leave-takers a small slice of the pie is just an excuse to not deal with the increasing numbers of folks who are opting out.”
[in response to the question of what she would like to see as a result of her writing the book]
“I wish people would read my criticisms and put in some honest effort to change things. The estrangement and disenchantment are really out there…The honeymoon of their early Christian involvement is very much over.”
Well, patrons. Have at this and take it wherever you’d like!
*pours coffee & sets out tables and waits*