Heartiste has posted a chart of where couples meet their spouses and romantic partners:
Follow the yellow line, it represents the church. In 1940, the church was the third likeliest method of meeting your spouse, after family and friends. Now it is the lowest, practically non-existent, while family is the second lowest.
Some of this could possibly be chalked up to declining church attendence rates, especially among the young, but, church attendence has remained near 40% since 1940.
Church leaders are always asking why young people leave the church. The first graph is all that needs to be said.
Young people are looking to find love. This is natural, this is healthy. If they can not find love in the church, they will find it elsewhere.
The church should be supporting young people in finding love, so healthy, productive marriages will result. Instead, the church has entirely abandoned its responsbility to promote family formation, and has left the process to peers, clubs, and online dating.
Why is the church letting this happen? Why is the church forcing their young people to rely on friends, the club, and online dating to find a family? Are godly marriages going to result from restaurants and bars? Are peers the best means of finding a marriage partner?
If young Christians are forced to look elsewhere to find love and marriage, they will be enticed by the secular world. If a man can’t get a wife at church, that cute non-Christian smiling at him at work may have a stronger pull than his developing faith. If a young woman isn’t being courted at church, resisting the temptation of the attention of dozens of men at the club will be difficult.
If the church doesn’t capture its young people through marriage and love, the secular world will through sex and pleasure, and the church will continue to collapse.
Is the church really going to allow the depersonalized meat market that is online dating to be the most effective way to find a Christian spouse?
Of course, church’s aren’t entirely to blame: where are the parents? Look at that blue line? Why has this generation completely abandoned their children to fend for themselves?
If you want to see the church renewed, if you don’t want your young people to continue abandoning the church, fix this. Bring your young people together and get them married. Don’t abandon them to their own devices and allow the secular world to devour them.
Here’s some ideas for churches of where to start fix this:
1) Christian parents need to start talking with other Christian parents and start meeting with each other as families. Bring your children together in casual situations so they can get to know each other.
2) Christian families and churches should work on positive courtship. Courtship should be about bringing compatible Christian young men and young women together. It should not be a negative sorting mechanism to prevent young men from courting young women.
3) Churches need to create a culture where going for casual first dates are not a big deal. Being serious about finding a spouse does not mean that every interaction must be deathly serious. Church culture should accept that early interactions can be both and purposeful; casual dates should not be treated as major decision points equal to buying a wedding ring, because how many men are going to court enough girls to find the right one when young when a date is treated as the equivalent of an engagement.
4) Similarly, casual interactions should not be held against men or women. Men who ask a lot of women in their church out for casual dates for the purposes of getting to know each other, should not be worried about being shamed as players, likewise, women who accept many such casual dates should not be shamed as sluts. (For both 3 & 4, this, obviously, does not mean tge acceptance of casual sex).
5) Don’t discourage young dating, encourage it. There needs to be an elimination of ‘sex is bad’ talks in youth groups, more ‘sex is good, get married as soon as possible so you can have it’. Instead of discouraging dating, start getting your teenagers to take it seriously and setting them up together. If the church doesn’t start getting young people together in marriage, the secular world will bring them together in fornication. In the war between young hormones and chastity, Paul was exceedingly clear on what is to be done. Modern teachings on abstinence need to be destroyed as the near-satanism they are and replaced with the wholesome promotion of marriage. Two teenagers marrying in the church and starting a family should be celebrated as a triumph of the church, then young couples should be supported by the church as they set up their family lives.
6) Large churches should be running regular, casual events for their young adults (including teenagers) so they can get to know each other and pair off. Small churches should be networking together with other churches to create regular casual events so young adults can meet each other and pair off.