A blog title caught my attention recently, 'Why young adults leave the church,' which is an extremely relevant issue in our current society. It opens with a young adult aged 31, who was an avid church goer until recently, where she feels God and faith is important, but the church is irrelevant. Primarily, she says “you don’t want to be judged when you walk in the church. You want to feel God.” Additionally, she suggests that "to get young adults in church, it needs to make them feel welcome, be more open-minded and accept those living worldly lives."
It mentions that a group the Barna group based in California has spent the last five years researching in America why young adults leave church. It revealed that most leave after the age 15 not to return until maybe when they marry again. However, if those who do return, tend to sway towards the evangelical churches.
The survey also revealed six key reasons:
Churches seem overprotective: Teens and young adults want their faith to connect to the world, but one quarter of 18- to 29-year-olds said that Christians “demonize everything outside the church,” that the church ignores the problems of the real world (22 percent) and that “my church is too concerned that movies, music and video games are harmful” (18 percent).
Teens’ and young adults’ experience of Christianity is shallow: Many said something was lacking in their church experience: “it’s boring”; “it’s not relevant to my career or interests”; “the Bible is not taught clearly or often enough” and “God seems missing from my church experience.”
Churches come across as antagonistic to science: Three out of 10 young adults said “churches are out of step with the scientific world” and “Christianity is anti-science” and 23 percent said they have been turned off by the creation versus evolution debate.
Their church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic and judgmental: Many young adults struggle with how to live up to the church’s expectations of chastity and sexual purity in this culture. Research indicates that most young Christians are as sexually active as their non-Christian peers. Among Catholics, 40 percent of young adults said the church’s “teachings on sexuality and birth control are out of date.”
They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity: Younger Americans have been shaped by a culture that esteems open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance, and they want to find common ground with people who are different from themselves. Three out of 10 young Christians said “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths,” and 22 percent said the “church is like a country club, only for insiders.”
The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt: Young Christian adults say the church does not allow them to express doubts. This includes “not being able to ask my most pressing life questions in church” (36 percent) and having “significant intellectual doubts about my faith” (23 percent).
Do you relate to any of them? If so lets change things through the Ministry of Seekers, so that more young adults can either remain faithful to the church or lets bring some of them back!