Why Are Young People Leaving the Church?

The statistics are alarming.

  • Over 60% of young people raised in the church leave before adulthood.1
  • In May 2015, a poll was released that shows that Millennials are leaving the church in historic numbers.2
  • 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

If we want to fight back for our children, then we need to understand the reasons they are leaving.

reasons for the exodus

There are contributing factors of a problem and then there is the root cause. This is true when we examine the reasons Millennials and Generation Z are leaving the Christian faith. Let’s look at both areas, but make sure we understand that we need to address the root cause if we are going to start winning back the next generation.

The Contributing Factors

Media

Christian young people are constantly bombarded by the world's messages everywhere: TV, music, movies, and social media. A 2015 study by Common Sense Media found teens spend 9 hours a day on media4, unknowinging absorbing what the world wants them to believe.

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Friends

Friends have a big influence on our children. The desire to be liked and to fit in can cause our young people to watch, listen to, search, wear, or believe in things that go against the Bible.

Schools

Kids are being challenged with skeptical questions. Evolution is taught as fact in public schools, where God has been forced out. This causes many to stop believing that the Bible can be trusted and turn away from God.

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Corporations and Governments

Corporations are adding their voice and dollars in promoting things like gay marriage, transgender, and even the elimination of genders. Governments are passing laws that legalize what God calls sin and redefining what He has established.

The Root Cause

Parents

There are many factors impacting our children. Yet, the role of parents in a child’s life cannot be overstated. God has given Christian parents the responsibility to pass on their faith to their children. We are to teach them the Bible faithfully, live it out boldly, and stand on it fearlessly. We are called to show them what true life looks like following Jesus. Unfortunately, this is not what we are seeing in many Christian homes.

Sunday is about God, but Monday to Saturday is about me. We invest all our time, energy, and resources on careers, possessions, status, pleasure, entertainment, or sports, while giving little or no time to studying the Bible, equipping them to stand in their faith, teaching them to pray, or showing them how to serve others and share Jesus. Yes, we might tell them about Jesus, but our actions are speaking louder. Our lives demonstrate to our children that the world is where they should turn to find their identity, joy, and purpose. Statistics reveal this reality as many fall away when they leave home since their faith roots never grew deep as kids.


What can be done?

Personal Faith: Two Roads of Life

As Christians, there is one road we want to be walking. Are you sure you are on it? Are you willing to take a humble evaluation of your life?

Parenting: What Are We Discipling?

Whether we realize it or not, our lives are modeling a lifestyle to our children. Do you know what you are discipling to your kids?

Rise Up!

There is hope for the next generation! This is a spiritual battle that needs to be fought according to God’s plans found in the Bible.


Sources

1 https://www.barna.com/research/most-twentysomethings-put-christianity-on-the-shelf-following-spiritually-active-teen-years/
2 http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
3 https://www.barna.com/research/atheism-doubles-among-generation-z/
4 http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/03/health/teens-tweens-media-screen-use-report/