Ben Boruff (I like his last name, especially the last four letters) gives good advice on how to keep young Methodists away from church.

Now here’s an ecumenical issue: the alarming loss of our young people seems to be true across many or most Christian traditions. Some evidence suggests that U.S. Roman Catholics are losing young people at a higher rate than other Christian churches. Let’s hope we can all learn from each other, and work together on this huge pastoral challenge.

As you perhaps guessed, Boruff really wants to keep the young Methodists in. Judging by his photo, he appears to be one himself. Some excerpts from his tongue-in-cheek advice:

Young people are, by and large, missing from the church. This realization came one day when I opened my eyes and saw pews full of heads that were, with few exceptions, bald, gray or slightly wrinkled. You may suggest, of course, that a percentage of those gray, wrinkled heads belonged to newborns, but you’d be mistaken. Very few babies attended church that day, and the yells and cries of those that did suggested that they were as surprised by the lack of young people as I was.

1. Bore young people with vague affection. Talk often about loving young people, but never let that love result in anything tangible…

2. Do not, under any circumstance, ask young people what they want…

3. Refit traditional services with guitars and muffins, but change nothing else…

4. Fill the church with references to past generations…

5. Refuse to acknowledge today’s pop culture. Follow this rule: If you can’t say something bad, don’t say anything at all…

6. Use the phrase “does not condone” as much as possible…

7. Whenever possible, remind young people that they are, indeed, young people. Sometimes youth must be reminded that they are not high on the Christian hierarchy…

8. Be unapologetically nostalgic…

Read the rest, “Take heed UM churches, and youth will stay away,” here.