By now, you’ve seen the reports and heard the news. All the statistics point to a downward shift in church activity in the United States. It seems we are becoming less and less oriented toward church life.
A variety of perspectives have emerged as to what is really going on. As for me, I place a great deal of confidence in what I read from Ed Stetzer and the folks at Lifeway Research – and I don’t say that because they are part of the organization where I serve. I simply believe they have the most comprehensive vantage point from which to draw conclusions.
One common thread among the experts – younger generations feel differently about church than their parents did. And, the case can be made that an emerging “missing generation” is developing in our churches.
What do we do?
I would encourage any church leader to take a long, hard look at how you are developing disciples in younger generations. Studies suggest that 80% of church kids leave when they go to college and never come back. Could it be the statistical results in church trends directly relate to these missing young adults?
It occurs to me that we should be training up young people to not only know how to engage in worship using their voices, but also why! This should be a priority for churches. It is a lot easier to walk away from something you only observed all your life. If our students learn to become passionate, engaged worshippers as we train them to engage in corporate worship gatherings, they are likely to remain engaged as they move into adulthood.
SonPower – our event for student choirs is happening this week in Orlando. We’ll have 800 students joining together to passionately worship Jesus and serve Him in various mission activities. Maybe you should bring a group next year!
But, regardless of that, make sure you are doing something that engages students in developing the tools to engage in worship. It’s a cop out to say, “Hey, we can’t expect kids to sing. Only a few have real talent.” That is the “American Idol” approach to worship. Let the few sing and the rest of us watch and vote.
My Bible says that every believer should be a singer. Now, what are we doing about that? Make it your mission to develop worshippers in the student and kid’s ministries of your church.
We’ve got to find the missing generation before it’s too late.
Mike Harland is the Director of Lifeway Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.