Young Christians Leaving Church

Oct. 5, 2011

Why are young Christians leaving church? There are lots of reasons, and the latest Barna Report lists six reasons that can be found in the book by David Kinnaman titled, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving the Church and Rethinking Church.

The first reason young people are leaving is due to the feeling that churches are overprotective. This generation has unprecedented access to ideas and worldviews. But they feel that pastors, church leaders, and members of the congregation fear the world and are often ignoring problems in the real world.

Young Christians also feel that Christianity is shallow. A significant percentage say that church is boring and many others say “faith is not relevant to my career or interests.”

A third reason for the exodus is that churches often come across as antagonistic to science. Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in.” Many who majored in science say they are struggling to find ways to stay faithful to their Christian beliefs.

A different view of sex is a fourth reason Christian young people want to leave the church. Sadly most young Christians are as sexually active as their non-Christian peers, even though they have more orthodox views about sexuality.

The exclusive nature of Christianity is fifth reason Christian young people leave the church. They have grown up with the tolerance gospel and have trouble reconciling the claims of Christ and the exclusivity of Christian belief.

Finally, Christian young people also feel that the church is not a friendly place for those who doubt. In fact, they say that most churches do not allow them to express their doubts openly.

The church in the 21st century faces a significant challenge from Christian young people who are trying to reconcile the Bible and Christian teaching with their social experiences. We cannot ignore their concerns, but neither should we affirm their unbiblical views about sexuality or the exclusivity of the gospel. I’m Kerby Anderson, and that’s my point of view.