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12
May
2014

FRESH FROM THE BREWER: THE CHALLENGES OF LOGISTICS AND DEMOGRAPHICS

Written by Troy Brewer  |  Found in: Main Articles

On Monday mornings, I sit in front of my Mac with my perfect cup of coffee and write something, well...Fresh from the Brewer. Iv been doing this for ten years and it’s a very important part of my week. Kind of like taking a shower, which I do every Saturday. 

Now the idea is to write something printable in a paper that is readable to the average guy who reads the paper. Now who is the average Joe or Joe-et who reads the paper? According to my google search, “demographic of newspaper readers”, it’s the same group of people who read the paper 30 years ago. There is a problem with that. 

According to researchers, less than 10% of people under the age of 30 reported that they had read a newspaper the previous day. In comparison, nearly 50% of adults over 65 had done so. Seventy-four percent of U.S. newspaper readership is concentrated in people over the age of 45, while that age demographic group represents only 39% of the population. And that group is getting older and dying while the under-45s are not.

What does all that mean? Simply that they people who used to read the paper are still the people who are reading the paper and newspaper is not replacing them with a younger readers. Newspapers are not dying, the readers are.

Newspaper is becoming relevant to less and less in our society. This gives me heart burn and all of us know that there is a coming death to 7 day publications. Actually 7 day publication has already died and this language is very familiar to me. It reminds me of something else I am neck deep in, -Church. 

According to researchers only 17.7 % of Americans are regular church attenders now. And, get this, most regular church attenders only go to church 12 times a year or less. Seriously?!

See, we are not keepping up with the population growth and we are not replacing old church attenders with new ones. Just like newspapers, Churches aren't dying, the congregations are. 

To me, there are 2 reasons why the Church and newspapers are in decline

#1 FREQUENCY has changed
It used to be that when people considered themselves a regular church member that it meant they went to church every Sunday. This is simply not the case any more. Our world has changed and for families to remain faithful to one out of every three or four Sundays requires a bigger commitment than it used to take to be there every single Sunday. Did you catch that, Pastor? Be sure you make a big big deal out of the hoops people have to jump through to get to your church, even if they are not jumping near enough to suit you. 

If the frequency of attendance changes, then attendance will respond accordingly. For example, if 200 members attend every week the average attendance is, obviously, 200. But if one-half of those members miss only one out of four weeks, the attendance drops to 175.

Did you catch that? No members left the church. Everyone is still relatively active in the church, its just a different day. But attendance declined over 12 percent because half the members changed their attendance behavior slightly. Its going to happen and its going to happen more and more. 

#2 Commitment to invest time 
It takes time to go to church and it takes time to read the paper and people are simply flying by the seat of their pants trying to keep up with all the requirements that are on them these days. For a Church to ask families to give up 4 hours of their lives and several hours in the logistics of making it happen, is simply not a reasonable investment of time to a family that is not sure of the value of church anyway. 

Did you catch that Pastor? We need to do everything we can do to make church convenient for people to make the choice to come to church. It is a big deal, unlike any generation before, to give up a half of your day when there are so many others asking them to give up a half of their day. I cut back all of my church services time to a model of less than an hour and twenty minutes, from stem to stern. We immediately grew by several hundred people and I found out, less time does not mean less Jesus. Streamlining everything is huge huge. 

So here is my Pitch to the average Joe or Joe-et reader out there. The message of Jesus Christ is absolutely timeless even if the delivery of the message is mostly outdated. Church is still for you. Find a church that is trying to find ways to build up and feed your family in a way that is life giving to all of you. There may be one very close to where you are. 

You may have to try several churches before you find one that fits. Don't give up and when you do find your church family, invest your time into getting there and being a part of the life of that congregation. God is not going to love you more, if you go to church, but if its the right fit, you & your family are going to love God more. 

Hebrews 10:25 
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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