“Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church”
Churches seem overprotective.
For example, 18% agree that “my church is too concerned that movies, music, and video games are harmful.”
They experience of Christianity as “shallow.”
For example, 23% say that “the Bible is not taught clearly or often enough.”
Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
For example, 35% think that “Christians are too confident they know all the answers.”
Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
For example, 40% “teachings on sexuality and birth control are out of date.”
They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
For example, 29% felt they are “forced to choose between my faith and my friends.”
The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
For example, 36% not being able “to ask my most pressing life questions in church.”
About the Research:
The quantitative study among American18- to 29-year-olds was conducted online with 1,296 current and former churchgoers. The Faith That Lasts research also included parallel testing on key measures using telephone surveys, 2007 – 2011 including interviews conducted among respondents using cell phones.
Excerpts from the article: “Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church” (© Barna Group, 2011)
“Why is it not popular among young people to be a Christian today? What is actually the point of Christianity?”
In today’s society, it does not take much to call yourself “Christian,” but still the trend among most Christian groups is that the number of members is diminishing.
In the autumn of 2011, a well-known American research and media outlet, Barna Group published the results of the research project “Faith that lasts,” which explained why 3 out of 5 young American Christians leave their Christian community after the age of 15. The results of the project can perhaps give us a hint as to why Christianity is losing ground in the western world, especially among youth.
6 main reasons
The results of the research study point to 6 main reasons young Christians leave their faith permanently or for a longer period of time (see the data insert on the right side of the page). When we read these and several other statements that many young American Christians align themselves to, there is every reason to call out a warning that something must be wrong – with the church, the youth, or perhaps both. Because:
What, really, is the goal of Christianity?
In His Great Commission, Jesus says “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt, 28:19-20. Why are the commandments to be kept? Because Jesus came to the earth to get brothers and sisters with whom He can abide together with God. (Heb. 2:10-18) After Adam and Eve were disobedient and ate of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, sin separated people from God. Jesus came to show us the way back to God. He showed us the way to keep God’s Laws and be set free from sin! That liberty means that I allow “The Lord’s Prayer” to become reality: “…Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matt. 6:10) first in my own life, and thereafter, in my surroundings. Then my body is an instrument for God and not for my ego. That is the liberty that Jesus brought! (see Rom:8 3-4; Heb.10:19-20).
According to Jesus’ own words, Christianity has gone off track if it merely causes people to maintain a façade of holiness while they continue to be egoistical, self-righteous, and proud.
Covered by grace and “permission to sin”
A fundamental concept in Christianity is the forgiveness of sins. Thereby, Jesus showed that He loves me and I know that I love Him in return. But don’t you think that Jesus had a deeper intention than “only” to set me free from the guilt of my sin when He died on the cross? “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” He says in John 14:15.
Everyone knows that love without action is completely useless. Why would that not also apply here?
Video: My relationship with Jesus
According to the study by Barna Group, it is evident that many young Christians and their Christian communities along with their pastors and leaders have more or less lost sight of this. If Jesus’ grace “allows” me to backbite, lie, and have critical, demeaning thoughts about others, have I not changed forgiveness of sins into “permission to sin?” Realistically, then, what is the difference between me, as a member of a church, and those who are not members? Is it only forgiveness, which was also available before Jesus? (Heb. 10: 1 and 9) Do the pastors have to impose numerous rules and regulations about practical details in order to create a visible division between “them” and “us”? Are these human interpretations of the Bible preached as if they were spiritually inspired boundaries placed there by God, yet in reality establish a mere false appearance of Godliness behind which both egotism and pride can continue to prosper? If this is the case, it is not strange that 20% of the participants confirm: “My experience of the church is that God seems far away.”
…yet in reality establish a mere false appearance of Godliness behind which both egotism and pride can continue to prosper
Not popular to be a Christian
This is the foundation on which Christian youth are to establish a direction for their lives. But the spirit of the times entices them with “seek fulfillment for yourself – live life,” and the lusts for sexual immorality rage in their bodies. How can anyone expect these young people to choose something that they experience as false, superficial, outdated, and unable to answer the most important questions of life?
The answer is obvious, and that makes it so things appear bleak for Christianity.
Is Christianity really outdated?
No, absolutely not! But we must return to that which was from the beginning. Instead of “permission to sin” or “facade Christianity” we need to go all out to preach in such a way that all in the congregation ask themselves:
“Do I want to live as much as possible according to my lusts here in this world and ‘surf on grace’ into heaven? In that case, Jude 4 describes the result clearly: “…ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness …”
Or will I repay Jesus with genuine love, by keeping His commandments and being freed from sin?
“What do I really want?” is the question on which my personal Christianity stands falls.
With this as a “filter” many difficult and unanswered questions disappear or become irrelevant. My interest becomes focused on God and His will for my life. When I truly desire to live according to His will, the Holy Spirit will show me the boundaries that God in His great love and divine wisdom has established for me. Then I am no longer interested in pushing these boundaries, whether it has to do with sexuality, movies, music, games or other things. I understand that it is only by God’s laws and commandments that I can be made free from my own egotism, and lead me into His divine peace and joy, both in this life and later in the life hereafter. Instead of the spirit of the times and ever changing trends in the society around me, God’s Word and the Bible become what I use to measure my behavior.
And that is unchangeable. (Heb 13:8)