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February 7, 2008

In the book Church on the Move the author mentions that when he was appointed associate minister at a parish in Edinburgh he discovered that 70% of the fellowship was over sixty. That is a lot. What struck me in reading that number was the fact that they are just twenty or forty years ahead of us in America. Later in the book the author predicts forty years.

The reason this really hit home last week is because during my time with my family my grandfather mentioned that he didn’t know how much longer they would keep the doors open at the place they attend. There numbers have dwindled to nothing and as my Great Uncle was a key person his passing only made things worse.

I grew up going to that building when we visited my grandparents. The building has its own smell that always takes me back. What was interesting is that at one point my grandfather saw the book I was reading and then mentioned that young people just want things there way. They want to be entertained, no one wants to really worship God anymore.

I didn’t say anything but only thought about this number from the book and what my grandparents were experiencing first hand.

Sixty. I don’t know, maybe we should argue style but in seems pointless and I don’t care what style you are talking about. What about where you attend? What is the average age? What do you think about the life expectance of your fellowship?

I would guess over the next twenty years more and more places will close the doors. Now is that bad or good? Does it matter or do we just need to figure out what comes next?

Do you agree that church as we know it is changing? I’m interested in your thoughts and what you would tell someone as a response to it. I’m not pushing gloom and doom. Maybe we need to have the church identified with people instead of structures again. What are you doing in your area about the sixty?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2008 4:55 pm

    well, I would say the average age probably around 30 at our church. It sure seems that the mass is very much in their 20’s. There is a group of 40’s and less than 10% over 60. But for around here we are pushing the envelope. I do think church as we know it is changing. To what exactly I don’t know. My hunch is to being much less about what happens at the building…I hope that is true.

  2. Matt permalink
    February 8, 2008 3:15 am

    More about people, I think that is very positive. I hate to hear of churches having to close their buildings doors. Something seems so sad in those words. I do agree that as a brotherhood our median age continues to rise. How to, or if we need to remedy this is something that I am unsure of. Was the model that we developed, to which we would consider “traditional” church, is that what would or is bringing about the maturity of us a body? I believe this is the question we are facing. I appreciate your post on this subject.

  3. February 8, 2008 8:45 pm

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. February 9, 2008 2:56 am

    The congregation where we are members, the one that primarily supports the Bible Chair ministry, is quite old. At least 90% are retired people. We love their godliness and their maturity. We don’t talk about it as much as we should, but everyone there knows that, barring a miracle, the congregation will close its doors in the not-too-distant future.

    Although the kingdom of God will last through all eternity, congregations won’t. Churches are conceived and born. Then they grow larger and they mature. They grow old and die. How many congregations that are around today were established before 1908?

    I think that bright, young, energetic Christian leaders should, among other things, think about planting a new congregation. In the next few years, many churches will close their doors.

  5. February 9, 2008 3:25 am

    matt, I suppose by “brotherhood” you are using a euphanism for your denomination. I would encourage you to try and drop that because it is used by some as an ugly, sectarian word which means “the true Christians”.

    But on another subject, I think a lot of these churches need to shut their doors. If they just exist to keep the old people comfortable, then they need to close. Now, if they encourage the old folks to more good works, then they need to exost. Even if it is just because it is a place that ‘ speaks their language.

    I’m curious as you about the age of others congregations.

    Darin what is the average age there?

  6. February 9, 2008 5:54 am

    Close to 40 with a very small percentage over 60, around 5%

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