I've heard that term a lot lately. It seems that we are seeing a trend in that our smaller churches are slowly fading away. It has made me wonder, is there a correlation between these churches fading away and the growing number of married couples not having children?
I think there is. Our society, on the whole, values money. You are defined by your career and how much money you make. Not so much in the more rural areas but certainly in the metropolitan areas where the majority of the population lives. We have seen a decline in the housewife and the number of children families are having. Those of us who have made it a priority to stay home and take care of our families are looked down upon as being "non-productive" members of society.
So how does that correlate with the dying churches? We have couples who don't see the promise and blessing of "be fruitful and multiply". I'm not going so far as to say it's some kind of command, but it is definitely a blessing. Since these couples have chosen to pursue something other than a family the numbers in the church don't increase. Every time one of our older members is called home the numbers of the church lessen. I know this is not the only reason these churches are dying but I think it is one of the major reasons. Just to clarify, I'm not talking about those couples who have tried and are unable to have children but those couples who make a conscience decision to not have kids.
It is so sad to walk into one of these churches and see how few of the families have children. We have attended a number of these types of churches. If you are there for any length of time, you start to miss seeing baptisms and watching the children grow. Those with kids have so few opportunities for their own children to make friends with those of the same faith. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it makes it difficult for the children growing up to meet and marry someone of the same faith. Instead of looking for a spouse who believes the same way you do you end up looking in other places. Okay, maybe I'm going a bit far but these are things that pop out of my head :)
Ultimately, I think it is so sad that we as a society have gotten so selfish that we don't want to share our lives with children. As a parent, I cannot imagine my life without our kids. It would seem so empty! What's worse is to see how society has influenced our churches. They truly are dying since there are so few being born to fill the pews.