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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Young Adult Exodus: Wal-mart culture

I want to start a new series of blogs on why twenty-somethings are all fleeing from the church with no intentions on coming back into the fold.  There are a series of reasons why "church" doesn't work for younger people any more and the model needs to be updated.  I was originally going to call this series "rechurch" but as  I thought about it the name didn't fit.

"Church" today is largely impacted by a sort of Wal-mart culture.  Christians come to church once or twice a week to get a spiritual boost, coming with the intention of squeezing enough out of a service to get us through the week.  This approach does not jive with how we think.  This approach doesn't lend itself to the community we want to participate in.  Churches are filled with surface level interactions (how are you, how is the family, what is your favorite Bible verse etc.). Church is intended to be place where people come to work out their spiritual problems, in a safe community of believers.  The current state of affairs at many churches does not accomplish this and we see through the haze of fabricated interactions and don't like what we see.

Growing up, I heard over and over again about how with the advent of the internet people would be somehow less and less connected.  However, the opposite has happened.  With the advent of services like Facebook, twitter, myspace, and Linked in, people (especially of my generation) are more interconnected than ever, but not with a church.  A Sunday morning church service does not fit that style of community.  Your weekly trip to church is the spiritual equivalent of your weekly Wal-mart grocery trip.  We are interested in continual conversation rather than passively sitting and listening to someone standing behind a pulpit.

Church services are usually at inconvenient times.  Sunday morning services don't fit very well into many younger peoples schedules.  We have grown up in a culture in which we were expected to work on Sunday because most of us have held either a retail or fast food job at some point.  The people who usually run churches hail from a time where Sunday was an off limits work day, this is no longer the case.  Additionally, we spend nights out, Saturday and Sunday mornings are meant to sleep in and recover.  Pastors are kidding themselves if they actually believe that anyone under 30 actually likes having to get up early on a Sunday morning to go to church.  If you want to reach young adults, make Christ convenient.  

My next post will give a few hints on how to go about reaching and impact the twenty-something group.  We are a spiritually needy group who is actively searching for Christ.  Feel free to comment with your thoughts on the topic.

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