It’s well documented that young people are leaving the Christian church at an unprecedented rate. One study estimates that by the year 2050, 35 million young people who were raised in the church will have abandoned the faith. The reason is usually not a crisis of faith. They simply aren’t interested in the Christian life they saw lived out in church.
But there’s hope. Fuller Seminary has documented the results of a four-year study of hundreds of churches in the book, Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. It turns out that many churches are growing, and growing with young people. And it’s not just churches with hip music and edgy youth programs. All different kinds of churches are growing.
This week, I committed our church to take part in a year-long study of Growing Young with other like-minded churches in Pittsburgh. The average age of our church is 65, a generation older than the average of our downtown Pittsburgh neighborhood. We could use some members of the church who are passionate about young people to join us.
The folks at Fuller believe that when a congregation commits to growing young, it’s not at the expense of older generations. Young people bring energy to an entire congregation. As a congregation grows younger, other priorities gain momentum.
When I look in the mirror, I notice that I’m not getting any younger, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It doesn’t have to be that way with our church.