Monday, July 7, 2014

Why Australians No Longer Go To Church

Australians no longer attend church. Let me state the obvious. 

McCrindle research on Christianity and spirituality in Australia suggests that only 9% of Australians regularly go to church (at least once a month). This is a far cry from the scores of people who attended religious gatherings one hundred years prior.

So, why do Aussies no longer attend church?

Let's say, I think it's a western world thing. The issue is not confined to Australia, but it is a true observation to say that the church is in decline also in the UK, in the U.S.A. and in most parts of Europe. Though why?

Churches are no longer relevant to the majority for a start. Churches used to be where people gathered, where they found meaning and purpose and where a sense of community existed. Over the last few decades the community has found purpose in other endeavours/groups like sporting clubs, dance clubs, pubs, bars, etc. While the community at large has still yearned for purpose and hope, the church has not been a place where the community perceived this to be available.

With the breakdown of the Christendom era (where Church was the centre of society and religious observance was key), the church has continued to live out the ministry of Jesus within the confines of church walls, while Australians have sought meaning and spirituality from outside the walls.

The churches in Australia, who believe Jesus is Lord, have a challenge before them. If 91% of Australians don't go to Church and there is no reason why that is going to change, how will these people ever hear or respond to Jesus?

Let me offer you a list of reasons why Australians (for the most part) no longer go to church:
  • The church in Australia has become irrelevant to their lifestyle (whether perceived or actual)
  • The church in Australia has not fulfilled the great commission of Jesus, 'to go...' but have continued to adopt the opinion that they, 'should come'. 
  • The church in Australia has not wrestled with the missiological impacts of a culture that lives in a postmodern worldview.
  • The church in Australia have fallen into the same laissez faire outlook as the majority and thus have not called Aussies to a higher calling.
  • Australians have grown increasingly wary of religion in any form, particularly because of the terrible misrepresentations of the gospel from ministerial leaders, and the seemingly increasing emphasis on these misdemeanours from the media at large. 
  • See also: 10 Reasons Why People Don't Go to Church
The significance of the hope and meaning that comes through God's son, Jesus Christ has not changed. Salvation is still freely available; though if the Australian church fails to change the way it operates and lives out its faith, the church in Australia will have a slow painful death.

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