Over the last 30 years, a quiet revolution has been taking place. Among black teenagers, the rate of church attendance has been steadily rising since the mid 1990’s while white teenage church attendance has been very flat. Almost one out of two black teenagers is attending church regularly whle slightly less than one out of three white teenagers has been attending church.
What are the reasons for this trend? I do not know, but I do know that it is a very under-reported trend. In fact, this report had me wondering just a bit. You see, had it been white teenagers that had shown this upward trend, I suspect that there would have been major articles in several white church magazines, such as Christianity Today, not only trumpeting the trend, but also interviewing major white church pastors to find out their “techniques” for increasing teenage attendance.
But, there have been no articles. In fact, I found a reference to this report in an article by a journalist seeking to explain why African-American voters voted so strongly against Proposition 8 in California. His analysis, needless to say, was that the increasing church attendance among black teenagers is responsible for the failure. But, why have there been no other reports on this increase in church attendance?
By now, I suspect that you know my suspicions. (Yes, that was a delibarate play on words.) They are only black teenagers, and after all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once said “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.” Apparently this wonderful news does not get reported by our major Christian magazines because they are only black teenagers.