O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Do You Go to Church?

posted by Jason Boyett

There’s a really interesting thread going over at Internet Monk about “the de-churching of America.” Lots of religious researchers are beginning to see evidence that my generation — people in their 20s and 30s — are dropping out of institutional church attendance…but not necessarily dropping out of the faith.

They still believe, but maybe they’re tired of the corporate/country-club mindset, or of being asked for money, or of the reduction of the Gospel message to a 5-step “How to Be a Better You” sermon.

Anyway, the comments below the iMonk post are pretty interesting. Feel free to add your two cents there if you want, but I’d also invite you to comment here. I’m interested in your experience. Are you still involved in regular church attendance? How often do you attend? If you no longer attend, what are the circumstances or thoughts behind that decision? Obviously this will be anecdotal, but have you seen evidence of younger generations dropping out of church?



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Jessica

posted November 19, 2008 at 8:17 am


I’m 22. I go to church every Sunday just the way I always have not so much out of routine but because I genuinely believe in the importance of meeting with other believers and worshiping God together. When you ditch church and just live out your faith on your own, I believe you are highly at risk of being affected by the wrong influences because you are losing your accountability check, if you will. You are walking away from a venue God Himself designed so that people could enjoy worshiping together and also learn together and encourage one another. Granted, church doesn’t always do these things (churches can get sidetracked, even in Biblical examples!), but it is still important – as a grounding and as a source of communion with believers.



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Travis Thompson

posted November 19, 2008 at 11:11 am


Ditto to Jessica. (except I’m 26)



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Serenity

posted November 19, 2008 at 12:51 pm


My husband and I haven’t attended church for over three years. We never intended to make a statement out of it or to remain churchless when we left the church I’d grown up in. I see a lot of problems with American church. Probably all of the same ones many others see who don’t attend. I think we get too busy with our services for each other that we forget to serve those outside who maybe don’t know God’s love. I think we give too much money to the needs of our building and programs when we should be giving to the poor. I think the long one-man sermon is a bit outside the original intent of “everybody bring a psalm and hymn”. But these problems have been around a long time and the awareness of them isn’t really new either. I don’t think there will ever be a revolution in the Church that will suddenly be perfect. Because the purpose of the Church has never been to point to itself but to Christ. We’re having a really hard time figuring out where to go and what part exactly church is supposed to play in our life as a family now. But we do intend to rejoin the masses who have stuck it out because of convictions like your first two commenters. Christianity doesn’t have a great name in many parts of the country right now. And truthfully, many of it is failing to be very much like Christ. But I just haven’t seen that separating ourselves still farther from each other (by so many of us simply not attending) has pointed very many to Christ either.I think this is a great discussion. Because I think the revolution will actually happen when all of us – those who attend and those who don’t as well as every denomination so divided by details from the next – choose to understand and love each other. We have to focus on what unites us.



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Haley Ballast

posted November 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm


I’m an iMonk reader as well, though I don’t have the patience to read much of the comments. I am fascinated by this issue of the so-called de-churching of America. I am 28 and I go to church every Sunday, as I have since I started following Christ in college. I have lots of Christian friends who don’t go to church regularly, and we’ve had long discussions about whether church is important/necessary as a Christian. For me, it is extremely difficult to understand why any Christian would choose to miss out on the amazing opportunity and privilege to gather as God’s people for the purpose of worship. It is the most sacred and beautiful part of my week, not because the music is great or the preaching is powerful. But simply for the fact that I am engaging with the family of God in the practice of worship – the very thing God created us to do. Why would I want to miss that? It is humbling to even have the opportunity to be part of it.Of course churches have problems, and these problems often hinder our ability to worship God together. But at the end of the day, the bottom line is that God has called us to be the church – His light and voice to the world. And I don’t think we can do that if we don’t even GO to church.I wrote about this exact thing on my blog a few months ago, if anyone’s interested in hearing more of my thoughts on this.Also I highly recommend the album “She Must and Shall Go Free” by Derek Webb, which is all about the Church as the bride of Christ.



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rickyg

posted November 19, 2008 at 10:16 pm


My wife and I (27 years old) have not been to church in over 2 months. We have been on and off to the huge one on hillside but it’s the same thing. I worked in churches for the past 10 years but have seen the same hypocrisy in each one. I wouldn’t mind doing it again but it would have to be authentic and they would have to preach the gospel every sunday. Note to Haley…Derek Webb is my hero.



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Hermes

posted November 20, 2008 at 1:11 am


Though I respect the opinion of those who believe that the path away from regular church attendance can only lead astray, I do not necessarily agree. Far from it. There are just as many who attend regularly, yet lead less than exemplary lives, as there are those who never have stepped into a church or temple and yet are living examples of kindness, love, and compassion in action.After all, isn’t God omnipresent? Isn’t within us part of everywhere?If one carries God truly within, then there can never be straying, for nowhere we tread will ever be away. I personally do not attend church on a regular basis anymore. When I did, it wasn’t on Sundays anyway– I always favored the Saturday evening mass, since it was never as high in attendance. Living in a city like Miami, I do my best to escape crowds whenever possible, especially when it is to preserve a more intimate experience with God. Now I seem to go to church more at whim. I love going to church when it is empty, kneeling on my own, praying for as long as I need to, and walking out whenever it feels right so to do.It is true that the communal experience indeed has many benefits. But sometimes it can also come with as many drawbacks, depending on which community– and parish– the experience is shared with. Ultimately, the relationship between God and man is exclusively personal. We each experience God in our very personal way, just as He chooses to manifest to us in the way He deems fits us best. While communal worship, like theatre, is a great spectacle, nothing can surpass the mystical experience of God– One onto one. It’s just like reading a great book: the movie will never ever be as good as that which the mind envisions.



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Haley Ballast

posted November 20, 2008 at 10:43 am


With all due respect Hermes, the religion you are describing is not found in the Bible. Even when Adam and God were one-on-one in Paradise, God saw that it would be better if Adam were not alone. Later, God revealed himself to Abraham – yes, one lone person, but the person who was to be the father of a great nation. A great nation, NOT a bunch of individuals each experiencing God in their own way. The New Testament does not tell a different story – it is the story of God’s interaction with his people, the Church. Yes, Jesus retreated by himself to pray (as we all should), but he also went to synagogue on every Sabbath day.



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Travis Thompson

posted November 20, 2008 at 3:06 pm


HermesYou give some great thoughts on personal devotional life. However, I think you give more reasons to attend church than not to. I think dealing with the benefits of communal worship are not only worth the “drawbacks”, but these drawbacks and challenges of corporate worship are PART of the necessary experience. Dealing with other people and their hypocrisy (and our own) is part of the process of sanctification etc.It seems to me that ever argument for not attending church I’ve ever heard comes down to “I don’t get anything out of it”. The question we need to be asking “what can I offer”. And ultimately, it’s not really about me anyway, is it?



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amoslanka

posted November 20, 2008 at 7:31 pm


I am not a regular attender of church. I actually had some words about it just last night and posted it over on my blog:http://blog.amoslanka.com/2008/11/20/the-holy-infallible-church/



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Nathan Hov

posted November 21, 2008 at 4:21 pm


I grew up in the Church but have become burnt out by the sale’s type pitches and rock star quality of worship music, it seems like the Church has swayed far from the truth and in large lacks any authenticity it just feels fake some times.It’s like we are still having to put up a front and are scared of dealing with the ugliness of being human – My wife and i haven’t been in Church for about six months now though we hope to find a Church that will be true to the word and to what is real… Though I wonder if we are that generation of the great apostasy mention in the bible



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Kim

posted December 6, 2008 at 2:09 pm


I know this post is actually quite old, but I just discovered this blog. I wanted to write because I don’t see any answers pertaining to why many young people are leaving the church. While many are still staying, what a lot of young people are finding is that the American Church as we know it does not feel like an authentic expression of their faith. It feels like something we just go and do once a week. They are looking for a something that is more integrated into their life as a whole.My husband and I have been starting these churches that are like relational communities where people who have walked away from the church or who are just at the edge of faith can feel comfortable to dialog about what they believe.We hang out together at least once a month doing parties to which we can invite any of our friends. Right now we are doing First Friday Fun Nights where we get together in our apartment for dinner and games. We invited all our neighbors, and had 24 people that came through. About 10 or 12 stay until 1:30 or 2:00am playing and talking.Along with meeting each week for worship and Bible discussion, we do a service project together the third Sunday of the month. Also many of us meet together in groups of 2 or 3 called Life Transformation Groups for accountability.I’m not saying this is perfect or even ideal, but what I am saying is that we are attracting a younger crowd because we are engaging them and opening our home in a way that is meaningful.That’s what 20 somethings are looking for: care about me, do things that I value, be all about relationship, give me ways to live out my faith, and call me to something bigger than myself.If you are curious, you can check out our website, which is very uncool and needs a major overhaul, but still holds good info. http://waorganicchurchnetwork.org



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