There are articles everywhere online about why teens and college students are leaving church faster than ever. However we cannot just put it into one little age group, people of all ages are leaving my church. It is visibly noticeable week to week at our church and sometimes we have attendance that is much higher than the weeks previous to it but it is not often. Now although I don’t know how to solve that problem exactly I do have this gut feeling that I am supposed to try and be a part of the solution.
I envision a safe space thats raw and mismatched.There would be writing on the wall and the scent of coffee in the air.
Oddly enough I often dream of this place and I think about it. I also think about all the empty rooms at our church building that used to be filled with people all through the week and I wonder if I would even be capable of cultivating such a warm welcoming environment again.
Part of me is trying through being a co-leader for small groups but so far it doesn’t seem that we are having too much success which is particularly disappointing to me. Some people have really dominating personalities and although at times this is great it is possibly discouraging to new Christians and to people we have worked so hard to get to even come to our group.
Although we did have a family come to this week’s meeting, I feel like 3 people from a list of over 50 people between the ages of 18 and 40 is so small. I want to know why some people won’t even try to come to a small group, it is just a small devotional, a meet up of sorts. Although I understand there are a couple families that are in other groups it means that there is about eighty percent of the people in my age group won’t commit to something outside of a regular Sunday morning service if they even come to that.
Why is it that people are not coming?
Why do people who do teach classes have to teach out of books written by other people?
Are we so busy we cannot even spend time in prayer and devotion during the week to prepare for a one hour slot with friends to worship the Lord? Must we only expect our paid minister to spend time during the week actually preparing to lead us in worship on Sundays? When did it become acceptable to go completely off the words of others and not open a Bible during a meeting with other Christians?
I know a lot of people won’t understand where I am coming from. I am from a church that has seem much growth and recession over many years and generations but I am from a religious movement that has been alive for longer than anyone can remember; so long that we must study history books and the Bible to understand where we come from. When did we begin to treat church and our Christian family like they are disposable? When did we get it in our heads that we can be destructive and hateful although we claim the love of Christ?
I want to say that it is possible to renew what we have lost but I am losing hope. It is distracting enough to have a 14 week old. I can’t get through a single church service without worrying about the well being of another. On top of it, it has become a habit for some to find our little nursery as a sanctuary to catch up when we should be doing that outside of church and unfortunately, even I have fallen into this habit.
But we fall short in so many other ways. We let new Christians, even beg them, to serve in the church when we should still be serving them and helping them find their footing. Then there are the immature Christians who hurt others and seem to be incapable of truly loving others, after years of trying to get to know someone it just seems easier to just not try to be there friend because for whatever reason they just don’t want to get to know you.
I feel like I am at this crossroads. I feel like I can’t do it alone but that there really isn’t anyone to be “in it together” with me. I feel guilty because we have this awesome new minister and his family and I don’t even know how to talk to them because I don’t have a game plan, I don’t even know where I want to go from here. I feel more lost than anything although I still feel like i need to be doing something. Anything. But what? When will my dream of an awesome ministry begin? When will the religious movement truly begin?