Friday, July 30, 2010

Teens, Young Adults Still Leaving Churches in droves

A survey done earlier this year for Lifeway Christian Resources found that teens and young adults are continuing to exit the formal Christian Church setting in large numbers. This has been happening for over ten years.

The phone survey, with 1200 people between 18 and 29 years of age, found the following, and more:

  • 65% rarely or never pray with others. 38% almost never pray by themselves either.
  • 65% rarely or never attend worship services.
  • 67% don't read the Bible or sacred texts.
  • 50% are unsure Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
A different study of the Millenium generation by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life revealed 68% did not mention faith, religion or spirituality when asked what was important in their lives. However, 31% pray by themselves once a day. 

Who are they praying to? They say they are "more spiritual than religious." Is their God full of grace and forgiveness, who gives them what they need, or is it some type of Answer Guy who’s there if they want to ask Him for something good that they want?

Reasons for the trend may include:
  • Technical advances in computers, special effects, and methods of communication have sped up so quickly since 2000 that most churches just can’t keep up with what would attract teens and young adults in order to draw them into the message of what Jesus did for us (John 3:16).
  • Gen X, Gen Y and the Millenial kids are being taught eight hours a day in school about diversity - you must tolerate everyone and everything they do; but also the contradictory message that “it’s all about you.” Take care of number one.
  • They’re constantly hearing the Bible is taboo and that if Christians disagree with anyone else’s choices, we are acting “hatefully.”
  • Their college professors are 53-75% liberal atheists by most expert accounts, and some even outwardly criticize Christian students.
  • They're being told they don't need to listen to their parents' ideas.
  • They see people in church being “human” – i.e., having faults or even sinning, which they’re being told by the world makes Christians “hypocrites.”
  • They’re fed watered down sermons to attract seekers with shallow messages.
  • Their church leaders’ concentration has been on making the music more attractive than the message is convicting.
  • They’ve never been faced with negativity, criticism or losing, because the pop psychology of the past 30 years has said “don’t hurt children’s egos,” so we’ve built a bunch of egomaniacal, narcissistic kids who go ballistic at their first rejection.
But the Number One reason:
Is that they haven't been taught “religion” and “faith” are not the same thing. Faith and true worship, and understanding who God can be to them, have nothing to do with the outward trappings of man-made denominational “religion.” Faith and true worship must be in the heart.

Families have dropped the ball on biblical, faith based training in the home, because many of the parents are still young enough to have been through the same education system as described above; and older parents feel threatened by the new concepts of “Children’s Rights.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up..."

And Ephesians 6:1-4: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

(Verses are NIV, bolding mine).

Source of Phone Survey statistics: "72% of Millennials more spiritual than religious" Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, 4/27/10.


Anonymous September 5, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

The truly sad part is the fact that religion is no longer accepted as "NORMAL"and nothing being done will curtail that. And the saddest part is that it is not singular by any stretch, its is every faith, no matter its origin or validity.Humanity such as it is abandoning all beliefs associated with religion, and nothing(apparently) has the ability to change that. As A free thinking society we are easily mislead into corruption and little we do as a society changes that.

Sheryl, author of post September 7, 2010 at 9:26 AM  

You are so right, Anonymous.

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