Naturally, this leaves a huge theological void about ministry to and with the poor, but it helps explain what’s actually happening in the suburbs and increasingly with the re-urbanization of many cities as the affluent move back downtown. I’m simply showing that this seems to be what’s happening. And when people are out of town, they tend to not be in church.
Fortunately, more and more blended families and single parent families are finding a home in church.
Churches are also launching online campuses that bring the entire service to you on your phone, tablet or TV.
There are pros and cons to online church (I outline 7 here) and there’s no doubt that churches with a strong online presence have seen it impact physical attendance.
The number of people who feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday shrinks daily.
I regularly meet people all the time who haven’t been in months but LOVE our church.
church, the likelihood of showing up regularly or even engaging their faith decreases over time.
They don’t see the value in being there week after week.The church in many people’s minds is seen as an institution. People always make time for the things they value most.If they’re not making time for church, that tells you something.If you’re relying on guilt as a motivator, you need a new strategy.(Well, honestly, you’ve always needed a new strategy…)People are looking less to churches and leaders to help them grow spiritually, and more to other options. (Google, doctors will tell you, is not a complete replacement for medical school.)Similarly, when was the last time you bought a car without completely researching it online?This post is the first part of a 5 part series on why people are attending church less often: Part 2: CNLP Episode 23: Why People Are Attending Church Less Often—An Interview with Will Mancini.Part 3: 5 Ways to Embrace Infrequent Church Attenders Part 4: 10 Predictions About the Future Church And Shifting Attendance Patterns Part 5: CNLP Episode 24: Churchless: Why and How America is Learning to Live Without The Church—An Interview with David Kinnaman So why all this attention?This trend isn’t going away…in fact (as the podcasts will show) it’s accelerating, It impacts almost every church regardless of size, denomination or even location. If your church is at all engaging the middle class, the upper middle class, or a suburban demographic, an interesting trend is developing.It probably marks a seismic shift in how the church will do ministry in the future. So…why are even committed attenders attending less often? The middle class is shrinking, but as this New York Times report shows, it’s shrinking (in part) because more of the middle class is becoming class. And, arguably, that affluence may be one of the factors moving them further away from a committed engagement to the mission of the local church.Either way, failure to see a direct benefit always results in declining engagement.So what are you doing or not doing that leaves people feeling like there’s not that much value?But whether or not your church has online options doesn’t make the issue go away.Anyone who attends your church has free access to any online ministry of any church.We live in a era in which no parent makes a visit to a doctor’s office without having first googled the symptoms of a child’s illness and a recommended course of treatment. In an age where we have access to everything, more and more people are self-directing their spirituality…for better or for worse.