Middle-Aged Women Face a Crisis of Discipleship by M. VanLoon
IMHO, this situation is ten times worse if you’re a never married, childless (or child-free) woman over the age of 30. I started noticing by around my mid-30s that most evangelical or Baptist churches cater to “married with couples kids.” They ignore anyone who is not a young married couple with kids still living at home.
The lady who wrote the following, M. VanLoon, is married with 2 or 3 kids and is either in her 40s or 50s.
I’ve read her material before. She said that she didn’t notice how horrible churches ignore all non-Nuclear Family demographics until her last kid grew up and moved out, leaving her and her spouse as “empty nesters.”
But it’s true. Most American churches don’t pay attention to anyone who is single (never married), or widowed, divorced, or childless.
I did a post similar to this one over a year ago.
(Link): George Barna presents sobering data reflecting the quiet exodus from the church among boomers and gen x-ers. The data indicates it isn’t just millennials leaving the church but sizeable numbers of those at midlife and beyond.
In their recent book Church Refugees, sociologists Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope also bring hard science to explore the reasons driving this exodus among those who say they’re (Link): done with the institution but not done with Jesus.
Though the study includes people across all age groups, their work affirms and expands upon what I’d been hearing anecdotally: In local churches, there’s often a discipleship gap for older members.