Ten Reasons Kids Leave the Church
by Jim Daly
Of all the hats I wear in life, the one I enjoy most may be that of “dad.”
As much fun as Trent, Troy, and I have together, whether it’s camping or just throwing the ball around, not a day goes by that I don’t give serious thought to how my wife, Jean, and I are leading them spiritually. In the grand scheme of things, we only a have a short window to help them build a solid biblical foundation before they launch out on their own.
If you’re a parent, I’m guessing you’re well aware of how challenging that can be. Even the statistics bear out the struggle we face. The exact percentages are up for debate, but we know that a significant number of kids walk out the church doors after high school graduation and never return.
Why? Well, the specific reasons depend on which study you read, but most of them point out how adults fail to connect teenagers to God’s redemptive work in meaningful ways. A recent example of this comes from a website designed for workers in church leadership. The article’s author , Marc5Solas, lives in a college town. He interviewed a large number of twenty-somethings to get their take on why Christianity is no longer important to them and boiled down what he learned into ten reasons you might find interesting.
Take a look and see what you think.
10. The church is “relevant.”
Normally, “relevant” is a positive term. In this case, it labels the problem. We’ve couched our faith in modern trappings to the point that 2,000 years of history and rich tradition have been diminished. As the article suggests: “What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize to. In our effort to be ‘like them,’ we’ve become less of who we actually are.”
9. They got into church, but the church never got into them.
Many young adults may have been taken to church by their parents, but the church wasn’t integrated into the fabric of their lives. Church was a Sunday event, not something that impacted the everyday realities of their lives.
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8. They were treated as smart by others.
Many students interviewed felt they were spoon-fed a Christian worldview, while professors and others who held atheist viewpoints challenged their intellect and inspired them to ask questions and to use their mind.
7. They were sent out unarmed.
Many youth have mastered Christian lingo – the pithy catchphrases spoken regularly in churches and marketed through popular evangelical campaigns – but they’re ignorant of deeper theological truths. They know what “WWJD?” means, and they’re familiar with how to “invite Jesus into your heart,” but they can’t explain what atonement or justification means or its relevance to life’s realities.
6. They’ve been given a “hand-me-down” religion.
Many kids leave the church feeling like they’ve been asked to accept their parents’ faith, instead of encouraged to ask tough questions, so they can incorporate Christianity into their lives and make it their own…
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