Gen Xers aren’t going to church

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an interesting article about the giving habits of Xers.

GenXers tend to give less money to religious causes than Boomers. Not a big suprise given that we’re not yet at our “maximum earning” age. But what’s chilling to fundraisers is that:

The difference in giving among the generations appears to be related to attendance at religious services, which has declined nationwide, said Bill Enright, one of the Center on Philanthropy researchers.

A generation ago, more than 40 percent of Americans attended weekly religious services, but that figure has shrunk to about 25 percent, he said.

I know for a fact that those of us under 45 are very open to spirituality and to Jesus. More so than many of our older relations. But evidently we’re not that big on gathering.

That’s scary. I love being part of such an independent cohort. But it makes isolation that much easier. And when we isolate, even Jesus followers, we’re sitting targets for the enemy.

Anyone who’s watches the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom knows that.

Oops, did I just date myself? 🙂

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and FundraisingCoach.com. He's also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to http://thenonprofitacademy.com/21waysebook

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Damien Tougas

    Hmmm… I think that I would easily be missed completely by these statistics. I do attend a religious gathering, but it’s a house church, off of the radar from where these statistics would likely be gathered from. I also give, but my giving has shifted from religious organizations to other areas that also would likely not show up in these statistics. I also don’t think I am alone in this.

    Perhaps this might need to be looked at as more of a shift than a drop. Check out this article for more details:

    http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=296

  2. Renee

    Funny, I was going to pipe up with some hopefully insightful comment but my husband spoke up before me. I know our family is not alone in the “believers, not attending standard church” demographic which Damien speaks of. I think there’s a lot more “gathering & giving” going on than can be measured by statistics.

  3. Marc

    Thanks Tougas!

    I sure hope that this is more of a “shift” than a “drop.” I know for a fact that’s not the case in our community. The number of 20 and 30 years olds that aren’t plugged in to any faith community is astounding.

    I love that people are taking responsibility for their own spiritual life. Thank God! But the hubris of thinking we can do this on our own speaks back to the lie in the Garden.

    I’m glad there are other gatherings going on! I just wish I could be much more effective at communicating the life-or-death value of gathering together!

  4. Damien Tougas

    Again, speaking from my personal experience, I would say that perhaps the reason the younger people aren’t plugging-in to faith communities is because they aren’t seeing anything that appeals to them.

    Just this past week we attended a gathering that was full of 20-30 year olds. It wasn’t a gathering of Christians (although several were present, including ourselves), it was a gathering of people who shared a common vision of making downtown Lewiston a better place. Those young people were there because they really wanted to be there and they saw what was going on as valuable and relevant. In the back of my mind I was thinking, wow, why aren’t we as Christians doing this? If we as Christians were genuinely invested in what the young people value these days, they probably would be interested in gathering with us.

  5. rich

    Tougas are on the cutting edge yet again!

  6. Marc

    Right you are, Rich!

    Damien, it’s interesting, we’re the only church leaders in our community’s group of 20-30 year olds. The group is dedicated to make our community better in general and better specifically for younger people.

    I too wonder where the church is!

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