21 years. That’s a big difference.
The average age of an American is 35 years. The average age of United Methodist is 56.
Methodists are, on average, an entire generation older than the rest of our nation. On one hand, this is a beautiful thing. Young families are expensive. We have to buy crayons and construction paper for the kids and their giving hasn’t matured yet.
But a 21 year difference is signficant. I spent yesterday morning in a worship service where the average age may have actually been younger than 35. It was a wonderful, fun, energetic worship service.
Some observations about that church:
1. Young people are everywhere. In the worship band, greeting, serving as liturgists. You can say that this is a chicken or egg thing, but when people consider joining a church they want to see people like themselves.
2. The contemporary worship was, well, contemporary. The average age of the band was probably under age 35. The music was new and fresh and played at an upbeat tempo. Even a traditional worship should be upbeat and have energy.
3. The announcements were relevant. The biggest was the kick off of a new moms small group. Compare this with an announcement I heard a few years ago where the UMW President admonished “All you young working gals” to come to the UMW meeting Tuesday at noon.
4. The church culture welcomed young influences. A QR code in the bulletin took smart phones directly to the church’s online giving page. No one scowled when babies fussed.
Next Sunday take a look at your own worship experience through the eyes of someone in their 20s. I realize you can’t make these changes over night. But you really do have two options: start attracting younger members or close your doors in the next 25 years.