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Young Adults and Leaving the Church (Part 1)

July 30, 2010

I work for a church that is part of a particular denomination. Which means from time to time I will get packets of advertisements from our denominations state head quarters. Mostly they are just telling me what they are doing on the youth side of things, but the other day I can across something that was pushing a young adults retreat. Let’s just say it caught my eye.

In the letter that it had with the semi cool poster they gave you to hang in your church, it had a quote from a young adults pastor who was helping put on the event. Here is what got my attention, pay attention to the quote:

I believe the number one felt need of young adults is a deep sense of connection. They want to be connected to other young adults, and they need to be connected to God. This retreat will help meet that need for connection, both to God and to other young adults ages 18-20’s. Some have called young adults the “black hole” of ministry because researchers say that nearly 75% of teenagers who are active in church will leave the faith in their young adult years.

I have two questions:

  1. Why are young adults  leaving the Faith/ Church?
  2. Why do we try to give people what THEY think is good for them?

Thoughts? Parts 2 and 3 coming soon.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2010 12:50 pm

    My answer to #1: Everything is incumbent on Jesus Christ for the believer. Preaching the true nature of God and his gospel and man and his nature, with authority, will bring and keep sheep, and will weed out many, but not all, goats and wolves. Young adults, and people in general, who are the sheep of God (cf. John 10), leave the church because they are not being fed the Bread of Life by their earthly shepherd (cf. John 6:35). The people who are taught by God to come to him (cf. John 6:45) are desperately wanting more of Jesus Christ. When they are starved of the Word of God, they will go where the Bread is. Even we sheep are still sinners and we wonder away. We leave churches for many reasons and, because we are His sheep, God corrects us when our reasons are not reverent, God-centered ones (Hebrews 12:6). As for why goats and wolves leave the church, I do not know (I know the analogy of sheep and goats seems harsh, but this is the analogy God uses throughout the bible).

    My answer to #2: We try to give people what THEY think is good for them because we are still sinners and at times our fear of men outweighs our fear of the God-man, Jesus Christ (cf. Proverbs 29:25, Isaiah 51:7). It’s basic people pleasing that trumps pleasing God.

  2. Ben permalink
    July 31, 2010 4:56 pm

    Oh the thoughts around this one.
    1. There are two main reasons, one is selfish and one is truly church leadership failing at every turn. I also think the question can’t be pushed together because many young adults are very strong in their faith but not attending a church. Right or wrong that is another discussion.

    I think there is a great detachment between two generations, it shows in social media, what people are interested in, etc. Church leadership doesn’t want to allocate resources towards young adults and young adults don’t want to buy into the vision just because they are told to. So they end up walking away, not talking and not working together. Immaturity on one side, yes. Complete ineptness on the other, absolutely.

    2. I disagree with your premise for number 2 because we try to give young adults what WE think is good for them. If that weren’t the case we wouldn’t have 50 conferences to choose from annually that are shaped around what we have been told people need. In a way, you can blame sociological studies for that. I don’t think young adults know what they want, need or anything; they simply want to live in the moment, enjoy life and learn on the edge.

    This is a complex issue because most people are pretty black or white on it. They want to blame it all on young adults or on the older generations. Which of course, gets us nowhere.

    • Benjamin Davis permalink*
      July 31, 2010 10:29 pm

      Ben lots of thoughts there huh? haha

      I will say a few things that come to my mind.

      – I would question how much someone loves the Lord, if they don’t attend or want to attend a local Church. I know that might sound harsh, because bad things have happened to lots of people I know who don’t attend a church, but in the end is it not just plain selfishness?

      – I think people walk away for a number of different reasons, the main reason being that they do not properly understand what God desires for their life. (Example: They don’t understand the Bible)

      -I think concerning question 2 I am confused as to what you are saying. And you might be confused on what I am saying.

      • Ben permalink
        July 31, 2010 10:40 pm

        Well, I would say that is a somewhat unfair comment to check someone’s motive for not attending a church….considering I am not at the present moment….and I love the Lord greatly. That would be a more offline conversation however. =P

        I confuse myself a lot so I probably wrote it in a confusing way.

        • Benjamin Davis permalink*
          July 31, 2010 10:46 pm

          I agree that it is “unfair” but I would say it about anyone. I don’t mean it harshly, but in a ” I care about the person who doesn’t attend” kinda way.

          And your right, it is a off line convo.

          I love that your reading. I will be in touch about your post soon.


  1. Young Adults and Leaving the Church (Part 2) «
  2. Young Adults and Leaving the Church (Part 3) «

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