A survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted jointly with the PBS television program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly,” found that many of the 46 million unaffiliated adults in the United States are religious or spiritual in some way.
Two-thirds say they believe in God, and 21 percent say they pray every day. A third classify themselves as spiritual but not religious.
MAINLINE DENOMINATIONS STRUGGLING
The young people who are attending services in the region are heading to non-denominational churches like Crossroads Christian Church, Oakbrook Church and Abundant Life Church where there are already large populations of young people who have created a “synergy” of sorts, said Main Street United Methodist Church Pastor Nancy Blevins.
All mainline denominations are facing a decline in that 18 to 35 demographic, no matter where they're located, she said.
Her church, at 830 S. Main St., Kokomo, still struggles to bring in new members, even though it is nestled in downtown.
While average daily attendance for the Methodist churches in Kokomo is up a little, the congregations are aging quickly.
Blevins said she has 30 members who are over the age of 85 and many more who are at least 70. Last year, she led funerals for 22 members.
The church is finding it hard to fill the gap with younger people, as they continue to follow their peers to bigger churches.
Blevins understands that.
She attended a large church with 2,500 people when she was young.
Now she leads a church that draws in about 200 people for services each weekend.
“We don’t have a lot of people," she said.
BEYOND THE PEWS
The challenge now is to find new ways to minister to the people who may not show up for a Sunday service. Churches have to think outside the box.
“The days of being raised in the church are gone,” Blevins said.