Erin Lane wants to help millennials and those who love them understand the real countercultural impulse of the church.
Attendance is down at church. At most places, there is a lag at Sunday morning services, Sunday school, or mid-week programs. It’s not just your church. It’s most churches.
A new study finds that Americans say they attend religious services more than they actually do. Is this bad news for churches?
I know a guy, a committed church member, who missed his own grandchild's baptism. It was far away, on a Sunday that was a busy one for his own church. So he felt compelled to skip the trip and go to church. This impressed me. It's hard to imagine such a thing at the church where I work.
We hear a lot about the "nones" these days: Americans who claim no connection to any particular faith. We'll hear a lot more too, as recent studies document this ever-expanding slice of the American demographic pie. We hear less, however, about the nones as individuals. But like any pastor, I’ve known more than a few in my time. At 20 percent of society, they are literally everybody's friends and neighbors.
When I left North Carolina at age 22, I never planned to be back in a Baptist church. Years later, here I am.
In Strasbourg, my husband and I became ecclesiastical two-timers. Once we'd done that, it was easy to become three-timers.
I knew that mainline congregants tend to be older than the general population. The average member is about 58, whereas the average American is age 38. The latest survey from Hartford Seminary fills in the picture with this piece of data: in more than half (52.7 percent) of mainline Protestant congregations, a third or more of the members are 65 years old or older.
Men and the church are often at odds. Sadly, many of the reasons researchers give for this are as insulting as they are misguided.
Do people join a church because they share its members' beliefs? This has become the putative ideal, the only pure motivation for church affiliation. But I have seldom heard it voiced at our new members' class.