A significant percentage of 18-29 year olds once raised in the church are no longer attending one. The social forces which once brought transitioning adults back to the church (e.g., marriage, child-raising) are being delayed, sometimes indefinitely. Moreover, our culture, as a whole, is less religious. For example, an Oct 2012 Pew survey shows those claiming “no religion” jumped from ~15% to ~20% from 2007-2012. Among 18-29 year olds, it’s one out of three (32%).
Yet somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of such young adults were raised in religious homes. At least temporarily, the church seems to be losing its youth in droves. I’ve recently read two excellent books on this phenomenon, Generation Ex-Christian and You Lost Me. Each is well written and rich in content and analysis.
Today, Marc5solas writes:
Our kids are smart. They picked up on the message we unwittingly taught. If church is simply a place to learn life-application principals to achieve a better life in community . . . you don’t need a crucified Jesus for that. Why would they get up early on a Sunday and watch a cheap knockoff of the entertainment venue they went to the night before? The middle-aged pastor trying desperately to be “relevant” to them would be a comical cliché if the effect weren’t so devastating. As we jettisoned the gospel, our students are never hit with the full impact of the law, their sin before God, and their desperate need for the atoning work of Christ. Now THAT is relevant, THAT is authentic, and THAT is something the world cannot offer.
Here are Marc’s Top 10 reasons youth leave the church, in reverse order:
10. The Church is “Relevant.”
9. They never attended church to begin with.
8. They get smart.
7. You sent them out unarmed.
6. You gave them hand-me-downs.
4. They found better feelings.
3. They got tired of pretending.
2. They know the truth.
1. They don’t need it.
See his post for an explanation of each.
HT: Justin Taylor