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The Graying of the Church

There's something happening in churches across the country. Visit enough churches and you'll soon notice a trend. The church in America is getting grayer.

This is not a blanket statement. There are exceptions. There are churches that are reaching Millennials. But overall, the church is struggling to keep the next generation involved. Young adults, ages 18 to 39, are less likely than older generations to say religion is important to them. And they are showing it with their feet. Young adults as a whole, are attending church less frequently than their parents.

Think about this.

Just like a healthy family is made up of all generations, a healthy church is made up of all generations as well. A church made up of great grandparents, grandparents, parents, young single adults, teenagers and children and babies. This is the kind of church that will continue to thrive in the years ahead.

In many graying churches, the nursery is not used, because it is not needed. And when the nursery is not needed, a church is headed for its demise. As those with gray hair pass away, the church will pass away with them.

This is not an attack on the precious senior citizens who are the backbone for so many churches. Our older church members should be honored and respected. There is much the next generation can learn from them about serving God faithfully.

But somewhere along the way, many older congregations haven't been intentional about looking behind them and realizing they have a responsibility to pass the faith baton to the next generation.

Or they tried to pass the baton, but they weren't willing to let the next generation redecorate so it would be relevant to their lives.

They felt hanging onto their songs that were written in 1921 was more important than engaging the next generation in worship.