Saturday, February 04, 2012

Back to (a Theology of) Work We Go

Why the church must talk about "vocation" and not just "mission" if it hopes to engage young adults.

Newsflash…Young adults are leaving the church. Ok, it’s not really news to anyone familiar with church attendance trends. For generations we have seen young people raised within the church depart during their later teens and twenties. But most returned once they married and had children. It’s sometimes called the “driver’s license to marriage license hiatus.”

What is new is the mountain of recent research by respected groups like Barna, Lifeway, and Pew indicating young people who leave are no longer returning. The hiatus has become an exodus. Why? David Kinnaman at Barna outlines six reasons in his research. And others have pointed out that young people are waiting much longer to get married than in the past, thereby delaying the felt-need to return to church. (Al Mohler’s solution to declining church attendance is to convince young people to get married sooner despite the much higher rate of divorce among young marriages. Kinda like motivating people to get a physical by breaking their legs.)

Books and blogs are filled with recommendations about how to reverse the exodus of young adults, and I have no silver bullet solution to offer here. But I do want to explore one area I believe many churches have overlooked- vocation. Keep reading.

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