Why Almost 60% of Teens Disconnect From Church and What You Can Do

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

In a recent article, Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church published by the Barna Group, the authors state that their research indicates that "nearly three out of every five young Christians (59%) disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time, from church life after age 15." They go on to list six reasons for this troubling finding:

  1. Churches Seem Overprotective
  2. Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
  3. Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
  4. Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
  5. They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
  6. The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.

In addition, in other research, Barna estimates the number of teens in America who do not attend church at all to be 27 million!

Here is the good news. If our experience in Youth for Christ, working with incarcerated teens as well as "average" high school teenagers, is typical, TEENS ARE INTERESTED IN GOD AND / OR SPIRITUAL THINGS.

My purpose here is not to debate Barna's statistics or reasons given. I believe they are probably very accurate. Neither is it to try to figure out what the church corporately is doing wrong. I'll leave that to people who are smarter than me. Rather, I'd like to urge you as a Christian adult to take a serious, personal look at what you can do to reach those kids who are desperately lost and are not finding the answers they are looking for.

Our strategy in YFC, and what we find most effective is that of developing personal relationships between Christian adults and kids. Over and over we find that when a loving Christian adult spends time with a kid, that relationship fosters genuine spiritual transformation. It doesn't happen quickly, and it isn't always easy, but it is effective.

You may be thinking that you don't have what it takes to really be "in" a kids life, but you would be wrong about that. Every week we see hundreds of Christian adult volunteers spending time with kids in juvenile detention centers, neighborhoods and high school campuses. They are regular folk with families and jobs and busy schedules. They are college students and retired people; moms and dads and busy executives. What makes them effective? They have made a decision and a commitment to invest in the lives of kids.

If Barna's research is correct, and I'm sure it is, there are millions of kids in the U.S. and hundreds of thousands in the Denver area who desperately need someone like you in ther lives. They need someone like you, who God will use, just because you are willing.

What will your part be? Are you willing to allow God to use you to see a young life transformed?

If you would like more information and getting involved with kids click here to see the various opportunities we provide.


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