The Des Moines Register has an article by Shirley Ragsdale titled, “Faith fades among young“. This article really collaborates what I’ve been reading in UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity… and Why It Matters, and summarizing on this blog.
I’m not going to get into the quotes, and issues – since I think that is being covered by UnChristian and the summary I’m doing, but there was a curious quote. Ragsdale said:
Facing this kind of criticism as well as a steadily dwindling number of people in the pews and cash in the offering baskets, many mainline Protestant denominations are scrambling to come up with successful tactics to attract young adults to church (emphasis mine).
At the risk of sounding nitpicky… is she suggesting that only mainline Protestant denominations are trying to do something about it? Maybe that isn’t what she means, but I find it curious that she doesn’t mention any of the evangelical churches in the Des Moines Metro area. She does mention Lutheran Church of Hope (which many in the area consider to be more evangelical than mainline) and Immersion, their young adult ministry.
I have to give props to Immersion and Justin Wise (their leader) as they are innovative in sharing the message of Christ without compromising the message itself, and they are connecting with this age group. I have been to their service (trying not to stand out with all of my gray hair) on a couple of different occasions and have been very impressed with their work.
Anyway, all churches need to address how they are connecting (or not connecting) with this generation. It will take innovation, hard work, and some tough changes, but I don’t think all is lost.
Update: Yesterday when I was talking to a friend about this I was reminded about the great work that Walnut Creek Community Church in Windsor Heightrs, IA and their Alive Campus Fellowship at Drake University does to reach twentysomethings in Des Moines.