The numbers are shocking: about 70 percent of church-going youth stop going to church almost immediately upon leaving home after high school. Why?
The linked article offers 10 reasons:
- We are making the church too "relevant" and not teaching our young people the deep traditions and their meanings.
- "They got into church, but the church never got into them."
- We do not treat youth, especially older youth, as intellectually capable.
- We did not equip them for the moral and spiritual struggles of life with a strong Christian foundation.
- We give them "hand me down" religion.
- We offer them "community" but not much more - and they find other communities.
- We over-emphasize feelings and they look for other opportunities to feel good about themselves.
- They got tired of pretending, especially in front of their parents and church people, that because they "have Jesus," everything is fine in their lives.
- We make Christianity into rules to be followed rather than a calling and life to be lived.
- They just don't need the church any more because we present the church in a consumerist mode - and they stop being consumers.
A recent nationwide poll on religious identification noted that respondents citing “no religion” (The Nones) made up the only group that grew in every state, most numerous among the young: A whopping 22 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds claimed no religion, up from 11 percent in 1990. Worse yet: The study also found that 73 percent of Nones came from religious homes; 66 percent were described by the study as ‘de-converts.’
This gave me pause, because the mechanism was not holding. More precisely, the church I grew up in was not making disciples.