Missing Generation Research in the Methodist Church

The Methodist Church has announced a twelve-month ‘Missing Generation Research’ project, to be led by Trevor Durston and Liz Clutterbuck. It will focus on Generations X and Y, adults in their twenties and thirties who are largely absent from the pews.

The project has two principal aims:

  • ‘to establish what can be learnt from Methodist congregations that have a relatively smooth demographic profile over the full age range, and from this to provide guidance for other churches in their mission to the whole of society’
  • ‘to explore the attitudes of the 25-40 age group towards the Methodist Church a) from practising Methodists and b) from Christians who have previously worshipped in a Methodist context’

A combination of quantitative and qualitative research techniques will be employed, including (possibly) an online questionnaire. There will be a pilot phase. Findings will be reported to the annual Conference of the Methodist Church in summer 2011.

Additional detail may be found at:


The 2005 English church census revealed that only 12% of Methodist worshippers were aged 20-44, compared with 23% for all denominations combined. A further 16% of churchgoing Methodists were under 20 and 72% aged 45 and over.

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