Boomers Leaving the Church

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Michelle Van Loon in an article (CHRISTIANITY TODAY/April 1, 2014) entitled “Aged Out of Church” reports that:       

George Barna’s 2011 State Of The Church survey highlighted that Boomers are leaving the church in numbers that we usually think of when we talk about the exodus of the Millennial generation :                

“ …. during the past 20 years the percentage of unchurched Boomers has risen dramatically, jumping up 18 points! At 41 percent, they are now the generation most likely to be unchurched, surpassing the 39 percent level among Busters.”    

The situation is probably more problematic for the Canadian church as Van Loon and Barna’s observations are reflecting American data. The weekly attendance at church has been and still is higher in the American experience than for Canadians.          

Van Loon reports that there are several reasons for those at midlife leaving the church:  

i) Some aren’t interested in investing their time and energy into busywork church projects that appear to have little spiritual impact. There is also a growing concern for social justice relevance in the church’s message and ministries.

ii) Othersfacing the crisis of midlife are re-evaluating how they want to use their remaining time on earth after experiencing times of burnout from keeping the church goingand not being adequately supported and spiritually nourished themselves.   

Iii) Many are feeling that by moving their “talents” of time, gifts, service they’d given to their local church into other areas of their lives, they hope to find a more lasting return on their investment.

Van Loon acknowledges that while the impulse to be more effective makes sense, we all miss out when seasoned Christians leave our congregations.

Her final challenge is the one I’d like to leave with you and your church to think about as the number of boomers is the fastest growing age group in our communities:

We need to start asking the hard questions about why this is happening and what that trend means for our communities.






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