However, my new friends came in handy recently. I asked for feedback on why so many people, especially young people seem to be walking away from the church and/or God. I asked for those who do not attend church regularly to respond to the question: "Why? Why don't they attend church?" I received a lot of answers. Here are two people that could easily represent most of the responses I received.
Mike: I either was always saved or got saved every week, until I learned how to fake it! It wasn't until I was in my 30's I realized church was about relationship and I was a faulty product, incapable of being perfect. I believe today's youth have a much more realistic view of what the church has become; a country club. It's where people go to gather and build large beautiful buildings that outshine other large buildings. Where they feed the hungry 2-3 times a year and themselves each week. Where people who claim to be Christians on Sunday, rarely live it on Monday.
Here are the words that stood out for me: "Fake it. Church is a country club. Build large beautiful buildings. Feed the hungry 2-3 times per year and themselves each week. Claim to be Christians on Sunday but rarely live it on Monday." Ouch! But as I talk to people who are not involved with a local church, I hear these statements. Here is another example.
Susan: As a high school guidance counselor, I have a lot of thoughts on this, especially since I no longer attend church. I was a youth director for two different churches over the years. I raised both older ones in the church, even after their father left. We were not always treated kindly. My two year old has been once in his life, at 2 months old for baptism but I found it was hollow and I couldn't pretend that I wanted these people to help me "raise" him. I am FAR, FAR from perfect but I crave authenticity, I rarely find it and almost never in all the churches I have attended. Our youth don't attend for some of the same reasons. They KNOW and SEE when we are lying, they see FEW adults that are truly HAPPY in their lives, they are NOT inspired by us! I have sat with SO many kids and had the most spiritual conversations WITHOUT invoking the word GOD in a public school. THEY CRAVE it, our Creator, they CRAVE direction and they CRAVE our HONEST attention. NO ONE talks very openly or honestly about anything.
Susan was very involved at one time, even raised two children in the church. She went through a crisis and the church did not "treat her kindly." Susan brought her youngest to church for Baptism and found the whole experience "hollow." She knows she is not perfect but craves authenticity within the church and can't find it. The youth she works with, see our lies, see that we are not happy and are not inspired by us. Our youth crave spiritual conversations, crave direction and crave honest attention from us. But they don't receive it. "NO ONE talks very openly or honestly about anything."
These are tough accusations to digest! But after sharing these comments with others inside and outside the church, I believe they represent a huge block of people no longer satisfied with the current state of church as usual.
After Mike shared what was wrong with the church, he offered this advice:
We (the church) need to go back to the basics. Give me people who "know" God and desire to see others come to this knowledge. Let us then go and "live" the word through our actions daily, integrated into a lost world, loving it.
- We need to go back to the basics of being the church.
- We need to "know" God and desire to see others come to this knowledge.
- We need to go and "live" the word through our actions daily, integrated into a lost world, loving it like Jesus did.