Monday, July 27, 2009

Young people leaving church

Ed Setzer recently listed ten 'reasons' why young people stop going to church:
  1. They simply want a break from church (27%);
  2. They felt church members are judgmental and/or hypocritical (26%);
  3. They moved to college and didn't find another church (25%);
  4. They have work responsibilities that keep them from attending (23%);
  5. They moved too far from church (22%);
  6. They just got too busy, even though they'd still like to attend (22%);
  7. They didn't feel connected to the church in the first place (20%);
  8. They disagreed with the church's political/social stance (18%);
  9. They decided to spend more time with friends (17%);
  10. They were just going to church to please their parents (17%).
How many of these reasons apply in some fashion to adults leaving church? Do you think these reasons are valid, or superficial?


Hannah Thomas said...

I have personally heard more of the hypocritical stand than the rest of it.

If the church feels they are just superficial reasons, and don't acknowledge how they feel? What incentive do they have to return?!

We all may learn something by viewing things from their point of view. It may not be all correct, but some of it maybe.

Mike Crowl said...

Thanks for your comment, Hannah. I agree that the 'reasons' can be viewed two ways: as part of a superficial approach to Christianity some young people may have; or as ways of saying 'I came to your church, but you didn't care about me that much.'
Churches continually have to find ways to make people welcome; it's not easy to keep on doing it well, and sometimes congregations just miss the boat.

mizlee said...

Maybe another reason can be added: The young now have the internet and can look up the answers to any questions they may have without having a pastor say, "You just have to have faith." They are realizing they have been lied to all their lives and that religion is just ridiculous horsepuckey.

Mike Crowl said...

I think young people were doing this long before the internet came along,anyway. I can't say I agree with you about being lied to all their lives, and religion being ridiculous horsepuckey (an interesting word I've never come across before, but will certainly use in the future!) but certainly young people need to find out answers for themselves. You can't rely on your parents' faith; you have to work out your own (secondhand faith just doesn't cut it).