October 5, 2011

A Magic Bullet?

You don't have to look far before reading something about the need, desire, or drive to get more young adults in church. As a young pastor in the UMC, I recognize the need as obvious yet I began to wonder, do we view the young adult demographic as some sort of magic bullet that will kill this downward trend the church finds itself in?

Speaking as a young adult, I believe we need to target my demographic because many of "us" are looking for a faith community to call home. My fear is we end up going to another extreme focusing on one particular demographic at the expense of the others.

How are we being intentional about engaging the Boomers? More and more I see the gap widening between students/young adults and the grandmas and grandpas. Where are the 40-55 year olds? It seems that many of them are becoming disengaged as they struggle with either being too young or too old, and we have struggled to figure out how to bridge that gap.

It seems that focusing on a specific "magic bullet" may not be the best way to create disciples, but perhaps I'm wrong. What do you think?


IndyChristian said...

Good questions!

Just one thought before conceding to what people have popularized, ie, that the Church is in decline. Go review the stats for yourself, and what you'll find is that the American demographic indeed is changing toward a wider, multicultural global mix here in the U.S.... which of course brings along with it changes in our percentages per faith-category... But bottom line, evangelical GROWTH continues. Be encouraged!

[See Barna.org and read the recent reports, carefully.]

Matt Lipan said...

IndyChristian: thanks for the read and comment.

thanks for bringing up a great point about continued growth. part of my perspective speaks from the UMC specifically, which, like a number of other denominational churches, is experiencing some decline.

but my bigger point was wondering if our (the Church) focus on a specific demographic was hurting the others. any thoughts on that?

thanks again for sharing!