The Death of the Church in England
I recently read an article in the Christian Post, “1 in 4 Church of England Congregations Did Not Have Any Children Attend Worship.” According to this article, about 25 percent of the Church of England’s congregations did not have any children attend services in October of 2016. I was shocked by this article, so I decided to do more research. Unfortunately, when it comes to church attendance this story is just the tip of the iceberg. According to Faith Survey, church membership in the U.K. for 2013 (5.4 million) is almost half what it was in 1930 (10.6 million). Since 1930, church membership has dropped from 30 percent of the population to less than twelve percent today. Fifty-three percent of the respondents of a 2016 BSA survey indicated that they had no religious affiliation. It is safe to say the church is dying in England.
Why is the church dying?
In the Guardian, Andrew Brown states that in the last thirty years attendance at mainstream churches in the U.K. has almost halved. According to Brown, “adults did not stop going to church, but they failed to transmit the habit to their children and now they are dying out.” The Church of England has blamed the death of elderly members, and the anti-Christian culture in Britain as the main reasons for decline in membership.
The decline in church attendance is not limited to the United Kingdom. The United States is also facing declines in church attendance. A Barna survey that was published in 2014 stated that regular church attendance had dropped about seven percent in the last decade. Regular church attendance will probably continue to decline because young adults between the age of 23 and 37 attend church much less regularly than any other age group. Just like in England, American church attendance will continue to decline when older church members die.
What is the solution?
While researching how to fix church attendance problems, I found countless ideas. The solutions range from needing multi-venues to adding more technology. Unfortunately, I believe all of the quick fix solutions are doomed to failure. In western society, there is a male identity crisis. As a society, Western men have given up the role of being the head of the household. . Many men no longer take care of their family’s physical or emotional needs, much less their spiritual needs. The male identity crisis is killing church attendance.
Churches are going to have to take the lead in fixing the male crisis. Churches need to teach children how to be Godly men. Men need to be taught the importance of being leaders of their families and churches. When it comes to fixing attendance problems, there is no quick solution. Some congregations may have success with different “solutions”, but the only real solution is fixing Western culture.