What do our church members "miss" about coming to church?
(And thus, what will they be looking for upon their return.)
Barna Research has been polling church members and pastors throughout the pandemic.
Their March 31, 2021 newsletter about what church-goers "miss" includes a poll from back in September 2020 when the pandemic was getting worse. Fortuitously, they broke it down by "generation" so that we can see what parents of children might be thinking. While no specific question is asked about children's Sunday School, the poll clearly shows that our children's parents are missing many of the social aspects of their participation at church.
Boomers are those born between 1946-1964 (currently 57-75 years old). Gen X were born between 1965-1980 (41-56 years old). And Millennials are aged 25-40 years old (born 1981-1996).
(Click on the image to see it larger.)
While the differences between generations don't appear to be great, according to Barna the parents of our Sunday School kids (the Millennials) miss more of the social aspects of going to church than older members.
- The chance to connect with like-minded people
- Connecting with church leaders in person
- Corporate Worship
- Chance to meet new people
- Sunday School, small groups
- Volunteering (at the church)
Interestingly, those "social needs" do not include socializing before and after worship. So much for coffee hour.
I think it's also interesting that 9% of Millenials and a whopping 17% of Gen Xers (parents of our teens and college students) miss "None of the Above."
If you want children's attendance to return and grow, you need to meet the social needs of their millennial parents by doing more than offering them coffee after worship.