How long will churches last?

In the U.S. there are churches of varying denominations dotting the map. I am certain that no matter where I go, it seems there will be at the very least, one church within a “few” miles. I grew up in a Lutheran church primarily and also attended baptist and methodist as a child and teen. I have experience in a lot of different churches because we moved lot. For your reference, I am 27 years old. Even ten years ago I noticed the vast majority were people who were 40+. To me, my generation doesn’t seem to really go to church in any sizable numbers (and by sizable, I mean enough to actually support a church body to the degree that the churches have been, historically and even through the past ten years). It seems church is irrelevant as many people my age are atheist, “irreligious” (a growing term), or if they do state they believe in God, they are passive about it and do not feel compelled to adhere to organized religion.
Thoughts?
Are most churches just in a state of having their head in the sand and oblivious to the trends?
Do you share my observations?

In the U.S. there are churches of varying denominations dotting the map. I am certain that no matter where I go, it seems there will be at the very least, one church within a "few" miles. I grew up in a Lutheran church primarily and also attended baptist and methodist as a child and teen. I have experience in a lot of different churches because we moved lot. For your reference, I am 27 years old. Even ten years ago I noticed the vast majority were people who were 40+. To me, my generation doesn't seem to really go to church in any sizable numbers (and by sizable, I mean enough to actually support a church body to the degree that the churches have been, historically and even through the past ten years). It seems church is irrelevant as many people my age are atheist, "irreligious" (a growing term), or if they do state they believe in God, they are passive about it and do not feel compelled to adhere to organized religion. Thoughts? Are most churches just in a state of having their head in the sand and oblivious to the trends? Do you share my observations?
I think people's need for church has changed drastically. Few people need church as they once did because the culture has changed. Women's rights had a lot to do with this. As they came out of the shadows, were able to work and end intolerable marriages everything changed. Women, especially, were held fast by their religion and their churches. Once the were freed, they didn't need them any longer. The older generations stuck to churches, the younger ones found different outlets--a different way of life. In my view, religions failed women. As soon as women could find independence, the churches became anachronisms. It changed for men, too. Clergy child abuse would never have been uncovered if it hadn't been for women being able to see their churches and clergy more objectively. They couldn't have done it as long as they were blinded and under the thumb of religion and the patriarchy it supported. Lois

The data backs up your sense. Even the data from the very conservative Barns group. That group wants people to know of the declining attendance because they want to make a case for more fervent evangelism. A losing battle in my estimation. Women’s rights and gay rights have been making advances without any help from the church, and I’m being nice in saying it that way. What might be happening is, not only are young people not going to church and not listening to old Christian values, but they are teaching their parents and grandparents about modern values.

One of the main values of churches has been the need for community and connection with others. However, I think the Internet and now cell phones, texting, facebook, twitter, dating services, etc. have all taken the place of churches so they’ll probably fade away pretty quickly.
Occam

I agree that younger people are attending church less, but churches won’t disappear anytime soon. They will change into something else, e.g. the Methodist church will become the “New Methodist church” or something like that. It’s happened many times before.

I agree that younger people are attending church less, but churches won't disappear anytime soon. They will change into something else, e.g. the Methodist church will become the "New Methodist church" or something like that. It's happened many times before.
Well, let's hope so. Some religious shrines of the past are now museums. A more likely, shorter term change is to community centers. The United Methodist has partnered with the Gates Foundation to end malaria in Africa. Gates choose the UMC because of their presence in so many communities throughout the continent. This is a unique partnership in history and hopefully the success of the project will make a statement.
Well, let’s hope so. Some religious shrines of the past are now museums. A more likely, shorter term change is to community centers. The United Methodist has partnered with the Gates Foundation to end malaria in Africa. Gates choose the UMC because of their presence in so many communities throughout the continent. This is a unique partnership in history and hopefully the success of the project will make a statement.
Glad to hear that the UMC partnering with Gates. It's a positive aspect of religious belief as long as they do it for humanitarian reasons and not just to spread dogma. I was once an active member of the UMC and around here it's viewed as one of the more liberal churches. Hopefully Mike's contention that religious institutions will morph into a more secular humanitarian organization will come to pass. At least then when Jesus comes back he'll be able to recognize his followers as just that. Cap't Jack
It's a positive aspect of religious belief as long as they do it for humanitarian reasons and not just to spread dogma. I was once an active member of the UMC and around here it's viewed as one of the more liberal churches. Cap't Jack
They are split close to 50/50 with liberals and fundamentalist. This will probably come to a head at their next world conference, 3 years from now. Anyway. Hard to tell on the reasons. Most leaders are very good at watching their language so it does come out sounding like they are trying to look good just to get souls for Christ, but if you spend enough time around them, it gets real hard to tell.
Hard to tell on the reasons. Most leaders are very good at watching their language so it does come out sounding like they are trying to look good just to get souls for Christ, but if you spend enough time around them, it gets real hard to tell.
And it depends on the pastor too. The church I was raised in has had many leaders over the last forty years, some moderate and some more liberal. Surprisingly, the more fundamental ones don't usually last long. And I've never heard a "hell's fire" sermon out of any of them, unlike the Baptists whose preachers condemn the Catholics as idols worshippers bound for Hades. Cap't Jack

I just joined this forum and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with pretty much all of what I read here. I do think that religions can survive if they turn away from biblical literalism, get out of the science versus religion discussion, focus on “faith”, as it was originally defined as something which requires no literal proof, and adopt truly Christian ideals, as in love thy neighbor as thy self. Then they may become the social support organizations that they claim to be now.

The short answer to the question is: too long.
Lois

We’re not likely to see the total demise of churches anytime in the near future but there will be a transition from the traditional style of worship as the demographics change with the influx of immigration, mainly from south of the border. That and the conservative churche’s use of traditional forms of worship including the ever offputting drone of a monologue. as this article says, churches are losing the Millenials who are used to dialogue and multimedia and are finding better ways of using their free time on Sundays.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mcswain/why-nobody-wants-to-go-to_b_4086016.html
Cap’t Jack

I think churches will go the way of astrology. It’s still around, but serves a totally different purpose, namely entertainment. Churches IMO will be similar. As long as there’s death and disasters, whether personal or natural, there will always be some kind of church/religion. But I think they’ll change to be more like the YMCA is now, namely social organizations, with the additional of “mourning” services.

I think churches will go the way of astrology. It's still around, but serves a totally different purpose, namely entertainment. Churches IMO will be similar. As long as there's death and disasters, whether personal or natural, there will always be some kind of church/religion. But I think they'll change to be more like the YMCA is now, namely social organizations, with the additional of "mourning" services.
Good analogies. Lois

Who knows Cuth but we may return to the “wake” as a method of mourning. My paternal grandfather had one and I remember it well. His coffin was laid out in my grandparent’s living room and mourners, including my grandmother stayed with the body until his final burial. He never saw the inside of a church.
Cap’t Jack

Who knows Cuth but we may return to the "wake" as a method of mourning. My paternal grandfather had one and I remember it well. His coffin was laid out in my grandparent's living room and mourners, including my grandmother stayed with the body until his final burial. He never saw the inside of a church. Cap't Jack
That's done now, at least every one I've gone to. You go to the Funeral Home for the wake then to the graveyard for the burial. I'm sure the Funeral Home though is no cheap deal, so maybe folks will turn to "in home" wakes again like you said. Or better yet, banquet halls can get into the business and treat the whole thing as a celebration. That's what I'd want.

I have a long time friend who’s family owns a funeral home and the cost of a typical funeral usually starts at $7,000 and up depending on the added costs which I won’t go into now. Having it at home may be a bit grisly but it’s one hellova a lot cheaper. Personally, I’m going with cremation.
Cap’t Jack

I have a long time friend who's family owns a funeral home and the cost of a typical funeral usually starts at $7,000 and up depending on the added costs which I won't go into now. Having it at home may be a bit grisly but it's one hellova a lot cheaper. Personally, I'm going with cremation. Cap't Jack
There is a better alternative: green burial. This appeals to me much more than cremation or expensive cemetery burial. I like the idea of a woodland burial place with minimal environmental impact. http://www.greenburialcouncil.org/faqs-fiction/ http://www.greenburialcouncil.org/ http://www.greenburials.org/ Cremation simply means rushing a natural process. IMO, it is neither necessary nor desirable. Why should loved ones feel the need to reduce a body to ashes for reasons of space, convenience and cost when there is a better, more humane, more easily accepted alternative? I, for one, would rather have my loved ones gently placed in a green cemetery than cremated. I would prefer it for myself, as well. Cremation is barbarous, IMO. Lois

Yeah, I’d rather be buried under some tomato and pepper plants to help them as fertilizer. That way, as people eat their tacos and tostadas they’ll get a little bit of me. :lol:
Occam

Cremation simply means rushing a natural process. IMO, it is neither necessary nor desirable. Why should loved ones feel the need to reduce a body to ashes for reasons of space, convenience and cost when there is a better, more humane, more easily accepted alternative? I, for one, would rather have my loved ones gently placed in a green cemetery than cremated. I would prefer it for myself, as well. Cremation is barbarous, IMO.
Until I read your post I'd never even heard of "green burial" and I can assure you that no one in our area has either. And the concept of this method as being the pinnacle of burial methods is IMO simply a matter of opinion. Baring state laws (some require embalming and some don't) the idea of saving tillable land appeals to me and I see absolutely nothing barbaric about the practice. Personally I like the idea of scaffold burial, but that is illegal so I'm going with cremation. my sister-in-law, a medical secretary and hard core Baptist wants a simple funeral service and in her will wants to donate her corpse to a body farm. I also have had acquaintances who willed their bodies to university medical centers. There are several options open to us and I chose cremation for several reasons, space being only one. Cap't Jack