Author and journalist, Julia Duin, says that people are leaving church in record numbers. I believe this is true, especially in North America, and it has been happening for decades in Europe already. Duin, author of Quitting Church (Baker Books, 2008) said in an interview at Rutherford that:
People who are leaving have been in church for some time. They’ve been believers more than ten years and are burned out. They’re not getting anything new in their churches. They’re not seeing the three major things—decent preaching, good community and feeding. Full interview…
By feeding, she meant content and spirituality. The whole seeker-sensitive movement is part of the problem, she says:
The seeker friendly movement started in the 1980s. It was the effort to dumb down a lot of church services, make them shorter, easier to grasp, cut the number of hymns, cut the preaching time and get it to a kind of package deal. The idea was to get nonbelievers interested in going to church because it would not take up too much of their time and wouldn’t challenge them too much. But what happened is that a lot of people who had been believers for some time suddenly found that the sermons were like milk instead of meat. They were so simplistic. Many were finding that what they were getting was pabulum.
Well, this problem is not only symptomatic of mainstream evangelical churches, but has also been a common symptom in most mainline churches for decades. If the steep decline in attendance at mainline churches is any indication of the dangers of dumbing down content and spirituality, then mainstream evangelical churches better wake up and smell the coffee!
We are not teaching the important truths of the faith. Neither are we forming real community. Moreover, our churches seem to be doing a lousy job reaching out to people who are suffering or going through trials.
We need to begin to raise the bar and give people what they are looking for when they enter our churches: content and spirituality!