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Naturally, this leaves a huge theological void about ministry to and with the poor, but it helps explain what’s actually happening in the suburbs and increasingly with the re-urbanization of many cities as the affluent move back downtown. I’m simply showing that this seems to be what’s happening. And when people are out of town, they tend to not be in church.Fortunately, more and more blended families and single parent families are finding a home in church.Both US and Canadian personal disposable incomes are at all time highs. It’s perhaps fuelling some of the reasons outlined below. And a growing number of kids are playing on teams that require travel. And affluent parents are choosing sports over church. Despite a wobbly economy, travel is on the rise, both for business and pleasure.There are simply more affluent people than there were decades ago, which may in part explain why so many “average’ people indulge their obsessions with granite counter tops, designer homes and decent cars, even without being mega-wealthy. More and more families of various ages travel for leisure, even if it’s just out of town to go camping or to a friend’s place for the weekend or a weekend at the lake.The number of people who feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday shrinks daily.I regularly meet people all the time who haven’t been in months but LOVE our church.Either way, failure to see a direct benefit always results in declining engagement.
Church leaders need to remember that when custody is shared in a family situation, ‘perfect’ attendance for a kid or teen might be 26 Sundays a year.Similarly, while the affluent might not be in church because of have a car or because it’s not their ‘weekend’ for church.Sadly, people who want to get to church simply can’t.The church in many people’s minds is seen as an institution. People always make time for the things they value most.If they’re not making time for church, that tells you something.