"The problem still remains that the churches are in a bad way. In most of them -- which means two-thirds the number registered ten years ago, for one-third of them have closed up for lack of leadership -- only a small per cent of the membership ever thinks of attending religious services regularly. It is quite customary for a church to be able to secure the attendance of more than one-fourth the number of people who might be accomodated in its auditorium. Young people are losing interest in the "Young People's Society" is no longer a debatable matter, as formerly. In all but a small per cent of the churches, that controversy has been quite decided -- in the negative.
Preachers are becomeing discouraged. It is no secret that many of them are detained in the ministry only by economic reasons. Were they able to launch upon other vocational waters, they would change their uniform tomorrow.
Every denomination is shouting that unless the ministry is speedily recruited with young men, a few more years will bring disaster!"
~ Lloyd C. Douglas, "Wanted - a Congregation" (1920)
Yes, that's the guy who left the ministry in 1929 after the success of "Magnificent Obsession" as a book and quickly a movie, and went on to write "The Robe" & "The Big Fisherman". But he'd served in five parishes and a campus ministry before writing this. As this book went to print, he was about to leave First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor for a church of the same name in Akron -- 5 years in Michigan, 6 in Ohio, then to a Congregational church in Los Angeles.