Why single 20 something's don't go to church
by Luke Joshua Davis
Next time you go to church look around. You will most likely see a lot of
children and youth, quite a few young families, and tons of old people. What
you will not see a lot of are single young adults. Granted, in a good church
many in this age group will be away at a Christian college. However, I'm not
just speaking of college age church-goers. Look again at the congregation.
How many are between 20 and 30 years old? How many of those are single?
If you are in an average fundamental church, you won't see many. This age
group could be the lifeblood of our churches. They have energy and charisma.
They are not afraid to sacrifice for their ideals and will work hard to obtain
a goal. They are not only the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of
today. And yet they would rather sleep in than go to church. Why?
There is no one reason. However, there are many things that attribute to
this behavior. Being a 20 something myself, I have personally experienced
all of these.
They have poor jobs. Few people get a job right out of college
that pays enough to live on. Almost every person in this age group has more
than one job. Most of these low level jobs require them to work on Sunday,
or Sunday is their only day off.
Church is not compatible with their lifestyle. Think about it,
if a 20 something is going to have a social life (by the world's standards)
they are going to frequent bars and clubs, concerts and festivals, or parties.
None of these fit into a Christian's lifestyle. 20 something's hate hypocrites
and will not go to a good church while engaging in these activities.
They are not treated like adults at church. I used get the impression
at church that I was not fully an adult because I was not married. Most
out-of-college 20 something's dislike their singles Sunday school class.
They feel like it is just a glorified youth group. Also, they are often
put in the same group as the 18 and 19 year olds. There is a big difference
in maturity between 19 and 26.
Churches don't prioritize them. How many in your local youth group
stop coming after they are too old to be in the youth group? Quite a few.
The problem is they are used to having a youth function once or twice a
week. If the singles group does something together once a month it's a miracle.
Matchmaking. Most 20 something's avoid being set up. They want
to find their own mate. Older adults routinely put pressure on singles to
date other singles in the church.
Church reminds them of their loneliness. Most unmarried 20 something's
are lonely. When they go into a church with no one their age, and few people
actually try to get to know them. It just reminds them that they are alone.
Its like going to a movie theater alone, its just depressing.
20 something's are sinners. Ultimately, it is not the churches
responsibility to retain this age groups attendance. The burden falls on
the individual to do right. 20 something's are selfish by nature; they have
little care for spiritual things. They are focused on achieving their life's
goals. In this pursuit they forget that without God in the center of their
life they will fail, no matter what happens.
What can you do about this problem? I honestly don't know. Every church is
different. What works for yours may not work for another's. Pray for your
20 something's. It is a very difficult, confusing time in their life. Pray
that they will see that diligently seeking God is the only solution to their
life's problems. Once they begin to seek God, they will return to church.