Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Church Attendance Is Dying. Here’s What’s Next:

Church Attendance Is Dying. Here’s What’s Next:

Church Attendance
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Church attendance is dying. Big time. It’s not just reflected in the size of the decline, it’s reflected in the quality and nuances of those numbers.

At least two massive, seismic shifts are at work in our culture causing decline in church attendance. First, we’re moving from Christendom into a post-Christian, post-modern era literally in our lifetime.

Second, we’re in the midst of the biggest technological shift in human history. The digital disruption happening all around us. The digital disruption isn’t just coming. It’s here. And it’s changing church attendance patterns at your church whether you recognize it or not. (By the way, have you heard Clay Scroggins talk about the digital disruption on Episode 193 of my leadership podcast? Cue it up for this week.)

We could add a third reason: We western Christians have been anemic in our mission over the last number of decades. But that’s kind of one of the main points I make again and again on this blog. So we’ve covered that before and will cover it again.

Regardless, people who used do church attendance regularly aren’t going to do so any more. Whole groups of people are gone.

So what does this mean for today and for the future church?

As we’ve said before in this space, in the future church only the engaged will attend because only the engaged will remain. (Here are five reasons engagement will drive almost all future church growth.)

But what exactly does all of this look like?

Here are three trends as we head into the future.

1. The Future Church Meets Anytime, Anywhere, Sometimes

As Erwin McManus said, “To be a futurist in the church you only need to see the present clearly.” A little too true.

All of this is so obvious, but somehow we miss it.

On the positive front, done well, our whole model of church is based on community (the gathering of people) which will continue forever. The gathered church is here to stay. Not only did Jesus commission us that way, but as we are all experiencing in real time, the more connected we become technologically, the more disconnected we feel. All of us need community now more than ever, and the church is uniquely positioned to provide the best community there is if we lean into it.