Everyone calm down! Everything is going to be alright with regards to the church in America. Jesus is still moving and his people are still working hard to make disciples for Christ (and, might I say, doing it at rates consistent with the church of previous generations). I just read a library book that has changed my perspective on pretty much everything that is happening sociologically and economically in this great land, The Age Curve, by Michael Gronbach.
This is his message to anyone listening: The Baby Boomers comprise 78 million people, Generation X comprises 69 million people (11% less people) and Generation Y comprises over 100 million people (thanks to an expansion of fertility due to medicine). EVERYTHING ECONOMICALLY, SOCIALLY AND POLITICALLY HINGES ON THIS SINGULAR TRUTH. The impacts of the realities of this are enormous to, well, everyone in America.
Why is Barnes and Noble entering bankruptcy? Why is Wal-Mart’s rate of growth flat-lining? Why is membership in the Church dwindling and why are the economies of scales from health care to the housing market imploding upon themselves? Well, it may be as simple as the mere fact that Generation X is 11% smaller than its predecessor, the Baby Boomers. The average age of Baby Boomers is currently around the early 60’s. These people are seeking to retire and enter their retired years. Meanwhile they are leaving behind an economy that is only successful when 79 million people are producing and paying into its system AND THERE JUST AREN’T ENOUGH PEOPLE IN GENERATION X TO FILL THEIR SHOES!
In the context of the Church in America, what if the beleaguered numbers that we are harped upon almost daily by church journalists are not due to a lack of effort on the Church’s fault? What if it’s not a result of bad doctrine or a poor understanding of our calling to make disciples of Jesus? WHAT IF ALL OF THE PROBLEMS WITH MEMBERSHIP IN THE CHURCH IN AMERICA ARE A RESULT OF THE FACT THAT THERE ARE 9 MILLION LESS PEOPLE IN THIS GENERATION?
On a positive note, here is the nugget of good news to be taken from my little blog: GENERATION Y HAS 100 MILLION PEOPLE IN IT! The first of this generation were born in 1985. This makes the oldest in this grouping 25 or 26 years of age. 100 million people! 21 million more people than the Baby Boomer generation that transformed America as we knew it (think Beatles, Elvis, Hippies, Forrest Gump, SUV’s, and Viagra).
There is the future of growth in the Church! This is where we must focus EVERYTHING we have! Generation X is here (like ME)! We’re not going to turn away from the Church. We’re here! We have to begin to focus our energies as a church on the wonderful future that the Church has in the largest generation to ever be in America. There lies the future glory of the God’s Bride in America.