Why Are Young People Leaving the Church?
The statistics are alarming. Over 60% of young people raised in the church leave before adulthood.1 These are people who said they attended church regularly and went to Sunday school often. Moreover, in May 2015, a poll was released that shows that Millennials are leaving the church in historic numbers.2 More recently, in January 2018, Barna shared that the percentage of Gen Z (the group of young people following the Millennials) that identifies as atheist is double that of the U.S. adult population.3
As Christian parents and the body of Christ, we cannot ignore this problem. We must stand in the gap and fight for the next generation! Young people are walking away from God and this is a sad reality facing family after family across America. So, what can we do? Before we can take one step, we must understand why this is happening.
reasons for the exodus
Bombarded by the World's Messages
Our Christian young people are constantly bombarded by the world's messages and they are facing these attacks everywhere: TV, music, social media, school, corporations, governments, and their friends and family. A 2015 study by Common Sense Media found teens spend 9 hours a day on media4, unknowinging absorbing whatever the world wants them to believe and directing them onto the wide road away from God.
The world continues its old, constant refrain that life is all about me, myself, and I and happiness is found in success, pleasure, wealth, or status. However, we also see with cohabitation, homosexuality, transgender, and even the elimination of genders, this strong push to redefine what God has established and find acceptance for what God calls sin. Additionally, pornography is everywhere and the result is an epidemic sweeping through our young people.5
While there is much more that could be said, you can understand why our young people are falling under the weight of all these constant attacks to their faith.
The Skeptical Questions of Our Day
Young people are being challenged at every turn with skeptical questions from our culture, with the biggest one being evolution. Evolution is taught as fact in public schools, where God has been driven out, and Christians who believe in a young earth are ridiculed and mocked. If Christians aren't actively discipling their kids and equipping them with the answers to the skeptical questions, their faith is challenged and many stop believing that the Bible can be trusted and turn away from God.
Our Role as Parents
It is easy to look at these factors and see their effect on our young people, but we cannot place the blame entirely on the world. While the reality might be hard to take, we must recognize and confess that we, as Christian parents, have also contributed to this problem.
God has given us the responsibility to pass on our faith to our children, to disciple them to be followers of Jesus. As Deuteronomy 6:5-9 shares and as Jesus demonstrated during his time with the Twelve, our role as parents is to teach our children to know the Bible and show them how to live it out daily. Faithfully parenting this way allows us to counter the lies of this world with the truth of God’s Word, address the skeptical questions, and show them the true life found in following Jesus.
Unfortunately, while most Christian parents share with their children that Jesus is their Savior, many are unknowingly teaching their kids to follow the world through their actions. Monday to Saturday we spend our time pursuing careers, possessions, status, pleasure, entertainment, or sports, while investing little or no time in reading the Bible, teaching what God's Word says, praying on all occasions and making disciples. This sadly leaves our children feeling secure because they have Jesus, but chasing after the world for their purpose and joy. It is a dangerous line to walk and statistics show many fall away when they leave home since their roots never grew deep.
The statistics are staggering and, as you've just read, the challenges are many. However, there is HOPE for the next generation! Find out what can be done to fight for the next generation.