I grew up in my family’s church. My uncle was the pastor and, for me, church became a practice instead of an experience. During Easter and Mother’s Day, we often joked about the number of people who decided to practice attending service in order to appease those they love. As Easter gets closer, I wonder just how packed church will be. Who will be forced to accompany their grandmothers or mothers to Easter/Resurrection Service followed by the trip to Golden Corral? Why is it that Easter brought them to church and not any other Sunday? As a matter of fact, are we still invested in the traditional sense of how the church is supposed to be? Just as my relationship with God is a personal one, so are my views when it comes to black millennials attending church.
According to a sample size study conducted by the Pew Research Institute, 75 percent of black people feel that religion is very important in their life. However, of that same group, only 47 percent of black people attend church once a week. The study also went on to show that only 17 percent of the group never attended church. If only 17 percent never attend church, I question the people who repeatedly say that black millennials no longer attend church.
Thanks to social media and the internet, the way we do church is completely different. No longer do you have to run down to First Baptist of Glenarden when you can attend bedside baptist. The changing of the times has offered several options for the way we can go about pursuing our relationship with God, and gives us room to decide if that includes the church.
Churches who stream services online have begun to take in e-members or online members. You no longer are forced to pledge in order to get a seat at the altar. Gone are the days of year long new members class.
As a child, never did I imagine I would be able to catch service online, interact with my pastor on an app or even be able to tithe using my phone. All of those things have now become common for me and my friends around me.
So how are researchers counting attendance? If they are taking the historical approach, they’ve got it all wrong. Not only are they wrong, but so am I. As a child we could physically see the overflow of people on Easter and Mother’s Day, but now we can’t dare judge the church’s reach based on those warm bodies within the brick and mortar. If you can take classes online and get a degree, can you not do the same with the church? Both are there to help you learn and grow in faith, but one is missing a key component.
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SOURCE: Blavity -LaVita Tuff