Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bishop's Election, Part Seven

My denomination, the ELCA, publishes a magazine. It's a pretty decent publication ~ could be better, could be much worse. This month, The Lutheran published in one of the articles a statistic. According to ELCA Research and Evaluation, “... the average age of worshipers at an ELCA congregation is 57 and the average age of an American is 33 ...” (March 2012, p. 25)

I'm not sure whether the Rocky Mountain Synod statistics are identical to the national statistics, but I'm sure they're not far off.

I'm going to assume that the church finds this problematic. I'm going to assume that the ELCA would prefer for our attendance and membership demographics to more closely reflect national demographics. I'm going to assume that the church would like to connect more with younger people.

The thing is, though, that if people don't see themselves reflected in the leadership, it surely must be less likely that they would fully participate.

We can make tell ourselves all day long that we value young people. Our statements won't matter, though, if we don't make it a point to install younger people into positions of significant leadership.

Which brings me to the question, 'What would it say about our synod, and the ELCA, for our synodical leadership to be closer to the average age of the country (33) than to the average age of worshipers in the ELCA (57)?



  1. So let's extend the age situation to the Congress and get some of our 33 year olds to run this country. Any of those I rode with last summer would be a vast improvement!

  2. So I have to add that out in the world outside church, things are slowly changing and the "young" 40 year olds are starting to get into leadership. But there's a big group missing - and many people comment on it - how Roosevelt would never be elected today due to disability. That's another group... just as an aside. We're in leadership all over the place except where we work. Maybe by the time I'm almost 50 there will be hope, at least on the age side of things.