There is a generational religious fallout coming. We have been on a slide for several generations and it shows no signs of turning around.
Here are the church attendance percentages across the generations.
Silent Generation – 58% attend(ed)
Boomers – 57%
Gen X – 52%
Millennials – 45%
Generation Z – 40%
Gen Alpha – TBD
You can see the slide. What is causing this? Why is each generation less committed to attending church than the previous generation?
One thing is obvious – each generation is less committed to attending church on a regular basis. If the pattern continues, Gen Alpha will attend church less than any previous generation.
Gen Alpha kids will not make church a priority. The biggest cause of this comes from their Millennial parents. Millennial parents aren’t making a commitment to attend church. Their children, the Alphas, will follow in their footsteps and make church even less of a priority.
Gen Alpha is growing up with a “post-Christian” and “post church” culture that is influencing them to have this mindset. The shift from the secular being more important than the sacred is becoming very evident.
Gen Alpha and Gen Z are spiritually illiterate.
They do not know what the Bible says about key issues.
They do not know the basic, foundational beliefs and theology of Christianity.
This is leading to increasing numbers of Gen Z and Gen Alpha disengaging from the church and in many instances from the faith.
When asked why they are not attending church on a consistent basis, many will respond by saying it is boring and not relevant to their lives.
I believe the cause can be found in the following:
Their parents aren’t setting a spiritual example and commitment to attending church.
Unforgettably, among parents who do take their children to church, it is often once every four or five weeks. Can you imagine a child only attending school once or twice a week? What kind of education would that result in? The same thing happens in churches every week as kids and families go to church only when it’s convenient.
The Fallout: Many Alphas will grow up with no connection with church at all.
As already mentioned, the members of this generation are generally the
children of Millennials, the first generation who left “religion” and say they are not coming back.
Today’s parents are treating church as optional. They only go to church when there is not a ballgame or the weather is too cold to go to the beach or they have nothing else to do.
This will result in their children treating church as unnecessary.
Parents often skip taking their children to church because of other commitments or priorities. When something is important, you make time for it and put it at the top of your priority list.
We are using watered-down curriculum that is not teaching kids doctrine, theology and apologetics. Curriculum that teaches values like responsibility, cooperation and honesty are okay, but are lacking in preparing today’s kids to live for Jesus in a post Christian world.
The Fallout: The lack of teaching solid, Biblical truth will be exposed as Gen Alpha grows up and only a small percentage has a desire to follow Jesus and live out His truth. Will they be able to defend their faith? Will they be able to articulate why they believe what they believe? Will they understand the key doctrines of the faith? What you teach them is a great determining factor in this.
Parents are not stepping up and leading their children spiritually at home. Gen Alpha kids are more likely to be raised in non-traditional households. Households led by single-parents, co-habiting couples, same-sex and multi-generational households are seeing significant growth.
It can be frustrating to spend major time and resources for equipping parents to lead their children spiritually and then see them not use those resources. Finding take home papers in the parking lot can be frustrating. Creating videos and then seeing the number of views can be frustrating. Sending emails and getting low open rates can be frustrating. Many parents simply do not have the same level of commitment as you do when it comes to discipling their children.
The Fallout: The days of Christian parents being the primary spiritual influence in their child’s life will become smaller. It’s hard to be committed and passionate about something that you treat as optional.
As we move forward, we must be ready to change and embrace new and different strategies if we are going to effectively reach Gen Alpha kids and families.
We must be in prayer as we strategize ways to better connect with and reach today’s kids and families.