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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers - New York Times

I remember sitting with this older Episcopal women who was extolling the virtues of the Episcopal church liturgy and the BCP. When speaking of the unchurched she said, "If only they would come and experience the beauty of the liturgy they would love it. We just need to find ways to get them into the church." I callously said, "They've been leaving the Episcopal Church in droves for years. They know exactly what it is you have and they don't want any more of it."

If the stats in this article bear out, I suppose my comments might ring true of many evangelical churches in the future. I don't think even successful evangelical churches are planning for significant change in the immediate future -- just like the mainline churches did not when they were successful.

I think evangelical churches will die quicker than many mainline churches have. Many mainlines have had extremely loyal older members and some are flush with cash from endowments and bequests. Cultural shifts also happen quicker than in years past. These factors could result in a swift death for certain churches who do not plan well.

An article like this often times puts the focus on the young people asking, "What's wrong with them? Why are they leaving?" Perhaps we might need to ask, "What's wrong with the church that it holds no appeal?" The truth might be that our theology might be orthodox and good but our ecclesiology and culture might be driving people away. Then again, our theology might be bad too.

Something must change and Lord knows our churches hate change. Lord have mercy.

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