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Sunday, August 26, 2012

what about my generation?

in this month's issue of the lutheranthis article discussed how churches are engaging young people - the millennials - in the faith.  the article gave examples of activities - from liturgical dance to barroom theological discussions - that draw the younger folks to church.

the more i read the article, the more pissed i felt.

i understand that congregations are doing whatever it takes to draw in new members, especially younger folk. i do.  but for someone who doesn't like to dance and doesn't drink, those activities won't work for me.  if anything, i'd feel more alienated and would shy away from the church.

churches around here woo the masses with AYCE meals, fruit festivals, rummage sales and the occasional outing to sight and sound.  the baby boomers are moving into the organizational positions once held by the greatest generation.  churches fall over themselves trying to snag the millennials into the sanctuary.  it's my generation, Generation X, that appears to be absent from mix.

at my old church, and the one i attend currently, most of the families my age, with children the age of my own, just aren't there.  many cite excuses of work or sports games.  the worst one of all - i work all week and sunday is the only day we have as a family.  for us, church is a family activity, and for an hour at the very least, a small portion of the day.

i joked to hubby if churches wanted my presence, perhaps they should send someone to clean my house while talking bible to me.  or offer a mom's day out, where someone watched the kids while i socialized with other moms.  actually there are a few churches that do mother's day out but they're too far away, or it's a faith that i'm just not comfortable with.  ::cough::fundy churches::cough::

it also didn't help that our church didn't have sunday school for the children during the summer, despite having class for the adults.  i wanted to go to sunday school but couldn't becos there was no one to watch our kids.  sadly, this is the norm - even the church my parents currently attend suspended children's sunday school for the summer.

hubby and i talked about this article and hubby said that while reading a church's annual strategic plan; one of the goals was the need for changes to the worship services to continue to attract and retain members. Monitor the attendance at worship to ensure there is adequate space for the congregation to feel comfortable in attending...  hubby took this as make sure there's enough empty spaces to attract new members.  say what?  wouldn't a congregation want full pews not half empty ones?  if i was going to a church for the first time and saw a filled sanctuary, i'd be thinking wow, this must be a good church/the pastor must be good/active congregation becos it's hard to find a place to sit.  who looks at a half empty sanctuary with those thoughts?  the irony is that this congregation has three services, with the early and latter settings being "traditional" and the middle being "contemporary".  this service is also touted for parents who wish to worship without their children (sunday school is held at this time).  what if i want to attend sunday school too?  guess which service(s) are the most attended?  it's not the one with the praise choir!

(a thought about contemporary services - i don't mind them every once in a while, and i do enjoy special entertainment on special occasions.  but if i wanted to be entertained in church every sunday, i'd go to a Haggis concert instead.  for me, church isn't for entertaining but for nourishing my soul and recharging my batteries for the upcoming week.)

ugh.  i am so disillusioned by the lutheran church.  sometimes i don't think i believe in it anymore.  oh, i believe in God and i believe in the lutheran doctrine, but the church as a whole - yeah.  it sucks.  but that's a post for another day...

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