These days, many evangelical churches are noticing a lower attendance of young people. Young people are not returning to church after they leave home–either for college or to live independently. Why is this? Wall Street Journal has an article written by a twenty-something author Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide (Baker, 2010). McCracken says:
As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment. Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly. Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong (why didn’t megachurches work to attract youth in the long term?) and scramble to figure out a plan to keep young members engaged in the life of the church. Read entire article
He makes a very good point here. Pastors, especially the young hip ones on the internet, look all slick and cool, but are their churches keeping our young people or losing them after they see through the slick and glitz? What do young people want? Do they want authenticity or the slick glitzy cool “Christianity”?
It seems to be that evangelical churches are going down the same pathway that mainline churches have gone in the past, that is, trying to be relevant at the expense of failing to preach/teach the core of the gospel. Is this “coolness” a factor in the church’s decline of young people?
Our churches are so good at teaching a human-centered theology but struggle with putting Christ in the center of our teaching and preaching. We like talking about self-improvement, but we don’t like to talk about what’s wrong with us and how we need Christ. If evangelical churches continue walking down the same dangerous road, evangelical churches will eventually turn into dying churches within 10-20 years. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen. Just give me the pure gospel straight-up please.