Home > Christianity, Youth Ministry > Why Go To Church?

Why Go To Church?

December 2, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Lately I have thrown around the issue of church attendance in today’s generation.  I was the same way in college, and I went to a Bible College…there were some days I just didn’t want to go.  So why go to church?

I’ve noticed with a lot of teens today, commitment to church just doesn’t hold near as much value as it did whenever I was in high school (and that was only five years ago!)  Why is suddenly not being addicted to church the thing to do…or be a part of?

Today’s teens and young adults are obviously looking for that sense of community.  Any pollster in Christianity will talk about that.  The Emerging Church really focuses on that side, and kudos to that.  So where have we erred?  This is basically just a post of me tossing around ideas, but I honestly would love opinions and input from other people.

I know that parents play a huge role in this.  If the parents make church a top priority, then the kids will make church a top priority.  So to any parents who happen upon this blog – make church a top priority.  Now I know that there are exceptions to this rule of parents, though.  I had friends who had faithful parents to church, but they hated it….so there is something else, right?

Another thing is maybe the church just doesn’t have enough going on.  I have surveyed different ministries from a distance, and I have begun to realize that a lot of times, the churches that always have something going on for their teens…well, the teens want to come.  This isn’t to say that churches should build their ministry around a program, but if it gets teenagers to come, it’s definitely a great way to build it.  

So, what are your thoughts on this?  Why have so many people slacked off on church attendance?  Why is being a faithful member being reduced to being there for Sunday morning worship?  

I know some people have to work, but in my opinion, when the doors are open to the church for a service – if you can be there, then you should be there.  Churches have so much value to the believer.  To get back to Haiti – these people love the church.  Some of them go five times a week.  Their life is built around the church.  Do we have too much to distract us here?  

I’m not saying that my church attendance was ever perfect…(although now that I am in ministry – I haven’t missed a service!!!) but to me, it gets discouraging to see my friends all over the place halfway committed to the church.  Where do we draw the line?  

Thoughts?

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  1. December 2, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Ah, one of the million dollar questions. Thanks for asking.

    There are so many facets of this issue. “It’s like an onion donkey. I have layers.”

    Our society has an incredible impact on Christians. Society has created an individualistic universe. It’s all about YOU and YOUR opinions/beliefs/etc. Sadly, the church has caught on. Ever heard the phrase, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship”? While that may be partly true, it’s not entirely true. It’s not JUST about one person having a relationship with God. It’s also about the entire body of Christ fulfilling its purpose. And the body is made up of members.

    The way the church has emphasized Christianity is just like our world promotes life–it’s all about your personal life.

    It’s no wonder to me why people don’t see the necessity of coming to church–because we’ve been told that it’s more about my relationship with God than it is my relationship with a religion (other people).

    I’ve said this before:

    It’s not that young adults don’t love God, it’s that they don’t see what loving God has to do with being a part of the church.

  2. December 2, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Ryan,

    To build on what Jacob has already said, let me add my perspective as a church planter and a father of three, two of them teens.

    What I am seeing is society responding to what it sees as a need. Everywhere around me I see activities for kids because the culture is worried that if they are left to themselves, they will get into trouble. So we overschedule them with soccer games, karate lessons, water aerobics, rock climbing, and anything else you can think of. Teens here have there own nights at the local rec. centers so they can congregate and talk about each other. The malls are still a popular place though not as much as when I was a teen in the 80’s.

    This, coupled with the parents feeling their kids should be involved in “something” all the time has led to a culture of scheduled enjoyment! By the time church enters into the equation, the kids are so stressed from all of their “relaxing” activities, that they can’t seem to find the time with schoolwork and everything else so we have a hit and miss attendance, if that, with them. Unchurched parents don’t care as long as the kids are somewhere. By late teens, many are working a job also further complicating things.

    It’s a shame because we’ve not taught our kids how to get quiet before God and hear the still small voice. They have so much to do, they are pressed in on every side and since parents don’t make church a priority, why should they care?

    I used to believe if you reach the kids, you’ll reach the parents and while that still might be true to some degree (perhaps in the younger years), I believe now we have to win the parents first so they see the need for a church family and then allow them to bring their kids. We must find ways to simplify what we do without adding so much “stuff” because that doesn’t work anymore. Where I’m at kids would rather go to the lock in at the local rec center where they can swim, rock climb, play video games, and watch movies then be stuck in church for another similar event.

  3. December 4, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Relating specefically to the community aspect-
    Just from my personal experience, young adults aren’t so much looking for structured, regular activities. A weekly ‘this or that’ can be just another obligation. What our young adults seem to respond better to is the impromptu hanging out, coming over to watch a football game etc. My friend who teaches a young adult class once reminded me- “they’re adults, they don’t need you to plan activities for them and they don’t need to check with their parents.”
    Most of our fellowship starts with a text that says “you want to ________ tonight/tomorrow” etc.

  4. Mike
    February 3, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Well, I am 18 and a college student and have been really involved with my Methodist church for my whole life. My family goes to church every single week and we like it. Let me give you the demographics of our church though… we have two traditional services which are horribly boring and only have maybe 50 old people in attendance and the atmosphere of the 400 seat sanctuary is just unwelcoming, but there is the booming contemporary service which is the complete opposite. Its upbeat praise music and informality draws hundreds of people of all ages each week. All of my best friends I have met through church and we were all really involved with the youth activities and came to service every week. It really is a great church, and I really feel connected there, like I am a vital part of the family. At least that was until our pastors changed, now it is still a good church, but that beautiful spark that once empowered me every week seems to be dimmed. Of course I still go, to see my friends whenever I am home but I just don’y find the excitement about God there anymore, and I have tried all sorts of churches around my college and still remain sort of unsatisfied with what is out there. Maybe I am being too picky or something but thats just because I well thats when young adults remember times when I was so excited to wake up every Sunday morning to hear this week’s message. So that is my story…. Also the church has a habbit of kicking out people once they reach 18 and don’t want them back untill they have kids and money to donate. As sad as it sounds, it is the truth with most churches, once you graduate high school, the kids and youth programs are no longer your domain, and neither are the adult bible studies or other programs like them. You are just sort of floating around, and if you don’t have other friends to float around with… well thats when young adults seem to drift away from church and try to seek comfort in other things… hope this helps a little 🙂

  1. December 3, 2008 at 10:56 pm

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