August 25, 2007

Young Adults Abandoning Church

Results of recent survey ought to give parents and pastors pause. "Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 — both evangelical and mainline — who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to a survey by LifeWay Research."

Some of the other findings are equally disturbing. Barely half could even find anything very complimentary to say about Christians or could use words like "caring" "welcoming" or "authentic" to describe the Christians they knew from their church years.

Nearly all of the dropouts (97%) cited life changes, such as a move, for stopping their attendance. Most (58%) were unhappy with the people or pastor at church. More than half (52%) had religious, ethical or political reasons for quitting. Dropouts were more than twice as likely as those who continued attending church to describe church members as judgmental (51% for dropouts, 24% for those who stayed), hypocritical (44% vs. 20%) or insincere (41% vs. 19%).

What's interesting in that paragraph from the survey is that those who dropped out because the members were judgmental are judgmental of those whose judgmentalism they couldn't tolerate. Ouch, don't you hate logic?

On the bright side, 35% of those who left the church said they resumed attending by age 30. What was the most significant factor in those returning to church after age 30 or those who never left? They all had both parents attend church with them during those formative years. And their pastors' sermons "were relevant and engaging, and church members invested in their spiritual development."

So how old are your children? Mom and Dad, do you both attend church with your kids or is that the women's work, Dads? Well, let me tell you in no uncertain terms, not only is taking the kids to church not women's work, neither is reading their bed time Bible stories, their devotionals, or anything else related to their spiritual development. Sure mom can and should help out with that, but you should be the driving force and the loving leader. And oh, by the way, my three adult children are all in a solid churches today and they never left. Now they are repeating with their children what they experienced at home. Got some changes to make in the home?


Blogger Matt Sargent said...

Could this be the beginning of the great apostasy/falling away?

12:16 PM  
Blogger PB said...

Hopefully it's the beginning of fathers who act like fathers. :)

1:54 PM  
Blogger cindyu said...

Hey Bill! I just found your blog...and already I have a question to challenge you!

I agree that statistics like these should concern us as Christian parents. I also think they should drive us to prayer and prayerful action. However, before we do anything, we want to know our desired end. It seems to me that the end you would point us to is to do our part in raising our children to be regular church attenders. If so, does it matter which church, what is preached and taught, or the reason they are regular attenders? I'm sure you see where I'm going here. Sure, ends are important, but so are the means by which we reach them.

3:30 PM  

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