Where Have All the 20-Somethings Gone

1960s fashion

Pete Seeger wrote a war protest song in 1961 that a little later Jaon Baez popularized called Where Have All the Flowers Gone.  It’s a pretty song and makes you think about war and it’s effects and whether or not we should be at war because we lose so many noble soldiers in the fighting.  See Pete Seeger performing the song on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXqTf8DU6a0}

[Here is a link to the lyrics: http://www.arlo.net/resources/lyrics/flowers-gone.shtml

I want to mimic the tone but change the main phrase.  Instead of where have all the flowers gone, I’m asking, where have all the 20-somethings gone? Or to make it flow with the melody of the music, where have all the twenties gone?

The church I minister with is missing them, and according to a lot of people I talk with as well as studies by the research houses like the Barna Research Group, a major portion of those 18-30 are missing from the church and its worse than that, this age-group has the largest amount of skeptics, agnostics and athiest of any age-group as far as I can tell.  Let me link you to a couple of Barna’s research studies on this topic.

  1. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/16-teensnext-gen/94-a-new-generation-expresses-its-skepticism-and-frustration-with-christianity
  2. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/16-teensnext-gen/147-most-twentysomethings-put-christianity-on-the-shelf-following-spiritually-active-teen-years
  3. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/16-teensnext-gen/93-what-teenagers-look-for-in-a-church

What that means to the church is huge!

I chatted with my niece on Facebook last night for a while.  I asked her about what she and her husband thought.  Here is some of the concerns that were voiced.


  • Too many or rather too much focus on meaningless activities
  • Churches that are too materialistic
  • That the church is too program oriented
  • Churches that are too inward focused or have no outward focus

What they are looking for:

  • Getting together to spend time with God through Bible study
  • Friendly people
  • People who are passionate about the Gospel
  • Good worship (mostly style does not matter)
  • Close relationships/small groups
  • Churches helping the community

What my niece told me is what I have been reading from several sources.

Ok Church, you belong to Christ, you are his hands, his feet, his voice, what are we doing to reach every generation, even the most skeptical to date?



2 thoughts on “Where Have All the 20-Somethings Gone

  1. Our church has, in the last 21 months, had 43 baptisms and over 70 new members… and 80% of that has been under the age of 30. Why? Other than just God working through the gospel (and not us trying to build the American church), I’m 25. And most people my age want to hear someone their age.

    It sounds simple – but the vast majority of ministers that I’ve met are in their 40s or above. That’s great if you’re trying to reach 40 somethings, but not so great if you’re going younger (and, conversely, our church has a dearth of older people, and the ones we have were here when I started).

    It may just be that cut and dry – people want a minister/ministry they can relate to, and age and socioeconomic status has a HUGE part to do with that.

    • You may be right, but in my conversations I haven’t heard them say that about their minister. It’s obviously easier for someone in their age group to relate but not a requirement.

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