The growing gap between the emerging generations in our churches and those who grew up in the twentieth century is alarming. Researches found that one third of young adults believe their church is “old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.”(1) As a result, a local church, which may have served an important role for one generation, may not be considered essential to the next. Thom and Sam Rainer suggest that most emerging generation church goers are not leaving “acrimoniously” but rather they “just see no reason to stay” in their local church.(2) They are concerned that the faith of their parents “has become one of self-preservation rather than one of world restoration.”(3)
Coinciding with this, other cultural obstacles are adding tension to the increasing gap. Young adults who consider themselves “born again” are much more likely to exhibit liberal acceptance of moral issues such as cohabitation, gambling, pornography, homosexuality and profanity.(4) Whether it is a failure of vision, discipleship, or relevance, the reality is that the younger generations in North America are not embracing the manner or traditions of the local church of their parents.
1 Kinnaman, David, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… and Why it Matters. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007), 34.
2 Rainer & Rainer III, 31-35. (see ::generation.problem.1:: post)
3 Kinnaman, 35.
4 Ibid., 53.
graphic from flickr