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AIBU?

To ask how to encourage younger people to join in church

353 replies

Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 16:46

Just that really. I'm not entering debate about what exists etc.

What would draw your children or teenagers into going to church regularly?

Our church has plenty of the older generation but only a couple of younger children and maybe 2 young couples with babies.

Thank you 😊

OP posts:

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x2boys · 18/09/2022 16:49

More going on for them ?
I ,m agnostic, but was brought up RC ,the church had very active brownies/ guides,Cubs/ scouts ,which had church parades once a month and the church hall held a youth club .

Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 16:51

x2boys · 18/09/2022 16:49

More going on for them ?
I ,m agnostic, but was brought up RC ,the church had very active brownies/ guides,Cubs/ scouts ,which had church parades once a month and the church hall held a youth club .

Thank you 😊 unfortunately it seems the things listed are not cool anymore around our area. Although maybe an invitation would be a good idea.

OP posts:
FlimFlamJimJams · 18/09/2022 16:52

You can't force someone to believe in something.
Realistically, people go to church mainly because they believe in a deity - one that will punish them if they don't attend, and reward them if they do.
Many go for community reasons as well, which is something that people generally mature into - as younger people have more opportunities for socialisation.

You say you're open to a debate about the validity of your religion - but this is an issue that is intrinsic to that debate. Basically, fewer young people are attending church because fewer people believe in religion; which is regularly linked to the increased level of education, scientific theory and decreasing power of the church.

HoneyIShrunkThePizza · 18/09/2022 16:53

A crèche so parents can attend the service and (DBS checked) volunteers play with the kids/do loosely Christianity themed activities?

I'm an atheist but could probably be persuaded to attend if someone was going to look after my unruly 2.5 year old DS on a Sunday morning 😂

My village has a youth club for kids which seems popular. It's free... pizza and movies etc.

Luredbyapomegranate · 18/09/2022 16:54

Dunno. But the Alpha course and places like Holy Trinity Brompton seem to have young congregations so maybe look at them?

Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 16:54

FlimFlamJimJams · 18/09/2022 16:52

You can't force someone to believe in something.
Realistically, people go to church mainly because they believe in a deity - one that will punish them if they don't attend, and reward them if they do.
Many go for community reasons as well, which is something that people generally mature into - as younger people have more opportunities for socialisation.

You say you're open to a debate about the validity of your religion - but this is an issue that is intrinsic to that debate. Basically, fewer young people are attending church because fewer people believe in religion; which is regularly linked to the increased level of education, scientific theory and decreasing power of the church.

Thank you for replying.
I suppose I go for the community too. I meet people who are very interesting and perhaps that could somehow be conveyed but I don't know how.

OP posts:
HoneyIShrunkThePizza · 18/09/2022 16:55

@FlimFlamJimJams as I said I'm not a believer but I'd wager there are a few out there who just haven't found a church that aligns with their values or simply struggle with the idea of getting everyone out the door in respectable attire for a sixth morning of the week.

veganmayo · 18/09/2022 16:55

Surely to join a church you need to believe, and many people don’t these days.

Activities could get people to church-related events but it wouldn’t necessarily translate into going to church.

I did brownies etc as a child and my family has never gone to church other than for events related to those activities that me and my siblings did. Same for all my friends from brownies, scouts etc. We weren’t religious families.

Ultimately, to dedicate you time to regular church attendance, you’d have to believe in religion.

Delabruche · 18/09/2022 16:55

This might seem strange but a lot of churches seem to try and attract teenagers by playing it cool - fun activities, friendly vicars etc This is a big mistake imho. Churches can't be cool! My teenagers are far more interested in the mysticism, the search for meaning etc. Churches should be encouraging spiritual development and prayer not pretending that it's only secondary.

Flopisfatteningbingforchristmas · 18/09/2022 16:57

Baby group
toddler group
family film night/ popcorn, hotdogs, ice cream once a month
messy church

Spiider · 18/09/2022 16:58

Same as above. Im not religious and I think fewer people believe in religion, especially younger age groups. I think you need to do things that appeal to that age groups at a suitable time. Youth club in the evening with things like movie night. Childrens play groups on a weekend morning (in addition to normal play groups), clubs for children that have a I guess some kind of religious focus but also centre around something else like sports - I know one church near us does occasional trips indoor rock climbing for example / trampolining. Or like another poster said brownies / cubs. Are your services accessible for children? Do you do messy church or children friendly services?

Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 17:00

Flopisfatteningbingforchristmas · 18/09/2022 16:57

Baby group
toddler group
family film night/ popcorn, hotdogs, ice cream once a month
messy church

Yes we have baby groups and several things on during the week as well as nursery. It just seems people don't believe anymore. It used to be a large turnout and had Sunday school where we would make stuff and play games and stuff for the older kids...but now nothing.

OP posts:
MomJeansBumJeans · 18/09/2022 17:00

@Ihatecocomelon

OP I am a Christian. The main way to get more people into church is to hold more non religious events to engage with the community.

Try it out. Do a Halloween night and invite all the kids. Provide sweets and puzzles.

Next you could do hotdogs and sparklers night

Then do a Christmas craft day. For children. But don't preach about Mary and Jospeh. Just focus on the fun.

Leave the religion out.. your priorities need to be this

  1. be fun
  2. be a friend
  3. relax and they'll come
Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 17:01

Spiider · 18/09/2022 16:58

Same as above. Im not religious and I think fewer people believe in religion, especially younger age groups. I think you need to do things that appeal to that age groups at a suitable time. Youth club in the evening with things like movie night. Childrens play groups on a weekend morning (in addition to normal play groups), clubs for children that have a I guess some kind of religious focus but also centre around something else like sports - I know one church near us does occasional trips indoor rock climbing for example / trampolining. Or like another poster said brownies / cubs. Are your services accessible for children? Do you do messy church or children friendly services?

We do rarely have services for children but once a month. The elder members for the most part enjoy the few children who attend but a few don't.

OP posts:
Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 17:02

MomJeansBumJeans · 18/09/2022 17:00

@Ihatecocomelon

OP I am a Christian. The main way to get more people into church is to hold more non religious events to engage with the community.

Try it out. Do a Halloween night and invite all the kids. Provide sweets and puzzles.

Next you could do hotdogs and sparklers night

Then do a Christmas craft day. For children. But don't preach about Mary and Jospeh. Just focus on the fun.

Leave the religion out.. your priorities need to be this

  1. be fun
  2. be a friend
  3. relax and they'll come

Great thank you 😊

OP posts:
MomJeansBumJeans · 18/09/2022 17:02

Sorry for typos!

I live in Cornwall and we do skateboarding IN the church for the teens and silent discos. And noisy discos. Rock night, hip hop night etc

We don't force anything on them at all.

Fairislefandango · 18/09/2022 17:02

Sorry, but my children (14 and 17) would not attend church whatever you put in place to attract them, because they don't believe in god. There are plenty of other clubs and activities they could go to instead which would provide interest, a feeling of belonging or community, the opportunity to meet new friends or learn about new things, without the need to believe in a deity. Most children and teenagers who do go to church probably only go because their parents make them!

powershowerforanhour · 18/09/2022 17:04

"What would draw your children or teenagers into going to church regularly?"

As mine are 6 and 3: having at least one parent with a passionate and unshakeable belief in a deity probably. DH has always been an atheist, my faith dwindled and more or less died years ago (well before I met him) despite my attempts to revive it so we don't go to church.

Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 17:04

Fairislefandango · 18/09/2022 17:02

Sorry, but my children (14 and 17) would not attend church whatever you put in place to attract them, because they don't believe in god. There are plenty of other clubs and activities they could go to instead which would provide interest, a feeling of belonging or community, the opportunity to meet new friends or learn about new things, without the need to believe in a deity. Most children and teenagers who do go to church probably only go because their parents make them!

Whilst I'm unsure of any gods I remember going when I was little but enjoyed it because there were other kids there. We didn't chat about Jesus etc just played.

As I got older I hated going as I wanted to stay at home and watch TV.

OP posts:
MomJeansBumJeans · 18/09/2022 17:04

Yeah Teens aren't stupid. If they think they'll get evangelised (horrid word!) then they won't go. If the ministry team are boring old fuckers that are unrelatable - they won't go (and neither would I!)

Believing in God is a choice and should never be forced.

JaneDoe222 · 18/09/2022 17:05

Whatever you do, don’t force church down their throats. Encourage them to go if they want to, but only if they want to.

I was forced to go to mass every Sunday until I was 15 and I absolutely hated everything about it. The sheer repetitive brain-numbing spirit-crushing boredom was the worst bit. Inevitably, I rebelled as soon I was old enough which caused massive family rows at the time, and even now religion is something I just can’t talk to my parents about. The bitterness and resentment is just too deep.

Littlemissprosecco · 18/09/2022 17:05

Tricking into going by putting on non religious events is so wrong!!

Ihatecocomelon · 18/09/2022 17:07

I and other members wouldn't force our opinions or beliefs down others throats but just want to make it more than the same people who come and include new people and things to encourage more.

OP posts:
MomJeansBumJeans · 18/09/2022 17:07

Littlemissprosecco · 18/09/2022 17:05

Tricking into going by putting on non religious events is so wrong!!

Why? It's a community event in a community space. 🤣 no different than going to your Village Hall for a party.

Maybe you've had too much fizz

Thatboymum · 18/09/2022 17:07

I am 31 and have never been to church and I’m not religious , i went through 5 years of an abusive relationship and for whatever reason after I was free kept thinking how I wished I was part of a church/community and had something to believe in it’s still something I’d like but feel after all these years I couldn’t just show up uneducated and unasked.

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