The shrinking 40% ‘audience’ of attractional church

Tim Stevens posted an interesting article on his LeadingSmart.com blog about the shrinking number of people in the US who are attracted by the “come to us” type church model:

The Shrinking 40% – these are people for whom the “come to us” model works. We can put on great weekend services, and 40% of the people in our community are still attracted to, or at least not repelled by, that model. For some communities on the left or right coast—this may actually be 20% or less. Hirsch believes it might be 35% for America overall. For our church in northern Indiana, we are still relatively insulated from the coastal influence—and we believe it could be around 40%. Whether the correct number is 40% or 50% or higher—there probably isn’t a place in America where this number isn’t shrinking.
The Growing 60% – these are people who believe in God (whatever that means for them), have a respect for Jesus, and are on a spiritual journey, but they don’t consider the church (as we know it) as a resource to help them take steps. And it is likely they never will. They pursue their spirituality through culture, friendships, music, TV personalities, their own study of the Bible, self-help books and more. Research indicates “young adults today are less church-connected than prior generations were when they were in their 20s. But…they’re just about as spiritual as their parents and grandparents were at those ages.” An even newer study published a couple weeks ago indicates if the current trends continue, “the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships,” this according to Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. In the group’s survey of 1,200 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% say they’re “really more spiritual than religious.”

This is even more obvious in the UK.  I don’t know what the statistics over here would be or how they would stack up against the US figures – but I would say we are way past the point where people are attracted in large numbers by the “come to us” type church model.

And yet we continue to push “come to us” as the only real alternative……

Read the full article by Tim Stevens here.

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