According to research conducted by statistician Ryan Burge, the Protestant Church in America is aging and could be only a generation or two away from dying out. Not a single Protestant denomination in America has even half of its members under 44 years old. Pentecostal churches come closest, with 47% younger than 44. Only 28% of Southern Baptists are 44 or younger, and just 43% are younger than 55. Other evangelical churches are only slightly younger.
Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas says the problem begins not at the church, but in the home.
"When you have 1/3 of Americans saying that they do not think it's important to pass on their faith to their children, as a recent survey suggested, then you've got a big problem," he asserts.
Broadly speaking, the more liberal mainline denominations tend to skew older, though the relatively conservative Missouri Synod Lutheran Church has the oldest average attenders on the list. Some entire denominations have attempted to appeal to younger Americans by compromising the gospel, but the results have been disastrous. Jeffress says the world may not realize it, but they are looking for truth, not comfort.
"The Church does not need to become more like the world to do its job," he submits. "We need to try to persuade the world to become more like the Church of Jesus Christ."
The pastor does, however, think evangelical churches could improve their odds of attracting younger members by supporting discipleship in the home and taking advantage of newer methods – not messages – in the Church.
"Parents ought to look for churches where the Word of God is being taught and their children are not just being babysat, but also a church that does things in a creative way to attract the attention of children," Jeffress advises. "A flannelgraph doesn't work in today's culture."