Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Turning Around African-American Churches

The Cleveland Plain Dealer takes up the issue of African-American churches fighting for relevance and effectiveness in inner-city contexts. See here for the schedule of articles. The series looks to be promising.

The first article points to the difficulty of traditional African-American churches attracting and reaching young people. The dynamic is an old one, the proposed solutions well-worn. But it's useful to think through these things again and to discern biblical from unbiblical or merely pragmatic.

A couple of stats from the article:

There is reason to hope young people can be drawn back. In the 2008 Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey, 71 percent of black adults under 30 said religion is very important in their lives, compared with 45 percent of all respondents under 30.

Pew Research Center surveys of 3,600 black adults in 2008 found only 14 percent of respondents ages 18 to 29 attended church more than once a week, half the percentage of those 50 and older. In contrast, 43 percent of younger respondents went a few times a year or fewer, compared with a quarter of the respondents 50 and older.

1 comment:

Cornelius said...

Having grown up in a black church where now none of my friends attend church regularly from my generation, there is a sense of unauthentic religiosity. It's all fake and it's more about gospel music and community. They have gotten away from the message of the gospel and are far too focused on the past. Far too many pastors were called to be civil rights leaders instead of theologian pastors. The music has become more "me centered" than God centered.

Ultimately, the black church is in serious trouble if young people don't change the direction it's going in.