The first of two posts by Steve McAlpine interacting with the basic ideas expressed in the post by Murray Lean I linked to last week called The Creeping Trend Of Church Absenteeism.
Two significant points that I liked were firstly; McAlpine’s reservations about motivating people to more frequent attendance through guilt or greater effort.
And secondly; the observation that lower involvement levels are not simply that time spent at church is being invested with non-church organisations, because all organisations note greater difficulty in engaging younger people.
It calls for a rethink about the nature of church life and how we communicate what being part of church is.
For a start he [Lean] points out that growing secularisation is a part of the problem. Well it may be, but let’s be clear: it’s not just church that has seen a dramatic collapse in participation rates in the past forty years, it’s every form of volunteer organisation across the board in the Western world. And that issue runs far deeper than merely people not being bothered to turn up any longer.
We can hardly blame secularisation for secular organisations rapidly dwindling membership and loss of volunteer hours. Something deeper is going on at a cultural level that is enervating people and seeing them shy away from the growing complexities that volunteer organisations require. Deep structural changes in the culture are wearing people out, even before they get to work on a Monday morning.
Clearly something has changed in the wider culture than merely an increased list of busy activities that Christians, especially young families, find themselves signed up for.
Read the whole article here.