Because of this, churches must figure out two things: how to do more ministry with less money, and how to find opportunities people want to give to.
As an example, in my parents’ and grandparents’ generations there was no faster way to get people to give than to launch a church building program.
Not today. People in my kids’ generation are more likely to respond by asking “why should I give my hard-earned money to help you build yet another church building?”
But they will give directly to people with needs they can relate to.
The successful church of the next generation will erect fewer (and smaller) buildings, but meet more direct, hands-on needs.
3. The Way People Attend Church Is Changing
A generation ago, a strongly-committed church attender went to church three times a week. Today it’s closer to three times a month.
This is happening for many reasons, including changing work patterns (see above), blended family schedules and more.
But too many of our churches rely on a church schedule that’s suited to the three-times-a-week attender.
No, we should not lower our expectations. Church attendance has always mattered and will always matter. But if we’re going to keep people committed to the church, we need to offer them something better than the mostly bygone schedule of a good Sunday morning service, a not-quite-as-good Sunday evening service and a not-very-good-at-all weekday service.
People used to attend out of duty. Not any more. And they shouldn’t. If church attendance doesn’t help them grow as believers, they need to find something that does. And, to a large degree, people are discovering that this is unfortunately true for them.
Great churches are doing fewer services, but getting more out of them. When they ask people for a second commitment in their weekly calendar it’s for something that isn't already happening in the main church service. Like an opportunity to meet real needs or have deeper study and fellowship.
4. The Way People Commit Is Changing
If people aren’t committing to the things they used to commit to, we need to offer them something better to commit to.
Every generation has complained that ‘kids these days’ are less reliable than previous generations. And it's regularly proven to be false when people step up in new, but unexpected ways.
You can read more about this in my previous post, People Won't Commit to the Church Any More? Don't You Believe It.