Young Adults Leaving the Church

Recently, I have been coming across books and blog posts about the topic of young adults leaving the American Church.  There are a wide range of statistics, all reporting different numbers as far as how many young adults are actually leaving, but the conciseness is fairly clear.  When teenagers graduate High School and Youth Group, they graduate the church.  Many factors contribute to this: leaving home, going to college, doubting the faith, seeking independence, lack of a solid college ministry, feeling like the church isn’t answering their questions of faith, and the business of life and starting a family. 

Here are a couple blog posts concerning this issue:

Why Young Adults are Leaving the Church – Kara Powell

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures: Let’s Try the Gospel – Air One’s Brant Hansen

It would be easy for us to point our finger at the youth and young adults who are becoming disengaged with the church and say to ourselves, “It’s their fault” or “They must not be following God”.  However, we must listen to what our teenagers and young adults are telling us.  Many testimonies show that young adults are seeking authentic relationships, real worship, teaching, accountability, and Christian community but are not finding it at an institutional church.  We as humans are not perfect, and the church is not perfect (nor will we ever be).  I am afraid that we have somehow (at times) missed the whole point of the Gospel.  In a recent survey, one out of three teenagers (from within the church) did not include the name “Jesus” at all in their response to “How would you define what it really means to be a Christian?”  If young adults that have grown up in the church think that Christianity is about behavior modification, following a list of rules, and judging others, we have failed to be the Church Christ is calling us to be. 

Although this may seem like a critique of the institutional church, I see it as an opportunity for a manifesto.

If someone asked you what it means to follow Christ, what would you say?  (Ill give you a hint…if you start listing off a list of tasks or duties, perhaps that is why teenagers and young adults are confused, frustrated, and leaving the church)

Christianity isn’t about what we do, it is about what Christ has done.  Now that is a manifesto worth proclaiming to teenagers, young adults, and everyone.



Here are a couple books that I have not yet read, but are about this issue as well:

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith

Almost Christian: What the faith of our teenagers is telling the American church


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