Why 20somethings are leaving...... the Church

My denomination recently published an article on why 20somethings are leaving the church in its monthly magazine. While I was happy they were addressing the topic , I really don't think it covered the issue. So here blog reader is your forum to discuss intelligently an issue that has a great impact on all of us.


* Leaders insist on entertaining kids rather than providing them with substance. This leads to the 'camp high' or 'Jesus high' phenomena. This leads teens when reaching 20something to go to pentecostal churches which offer more 'Jesus high' type experiences OR they see the holes in a faith that is as empty and weak (having being taught little of the fundamentals of Christianity, like say suffering) - and leave. We must teach faith for the valleys and everydayness of life, a faith that is dynamic, powerful and practical.

* We don't model the real Jesus.

We have seen it all. From dead, compromising churches to hyped-up phoney churches, telling us that if we just do this or that, the next level will come. And of course, the biggest doctrine of our generation, if you just give more money, all your problems will be solved, or worse, He will heal you, fix your marriage, flood you with lots of money, etc. From: Mary Jean an Out of Church Christian (-USA):
From 'The Out of Church Christian's Book'

* Leaders go for 'big bang' experiences (think easter camp/ summer camp) SEE THIS BLOG POST and use these to 'feed' our teens, neglecting to teach them how to feed themselves using a Bible, Prayer, Solitude and songs of worship.

* We don't discuss big issues. Leaving things such as our doubts about God, challenges, money, politics, sex, Porn, in an untouched box for the world to handle. So when a teen/young adult does have a problem/question/issue etc in this area their only answer is from a non Christian worldview.

*We provide little intellectual stimulus and when one reaches university or the big wide world we have taught our teens little about their own or other world views. Although at this point I would like to offer a mighty big kudos to Trueu.org for the fantastic work they do in this area for all university students and Soulpurpose for the work they do in NZ they do with NZ teens and young people. You're my heros :)

* The cult of Leader - This one is a pet peeve - 'If only xxxx was here he was such a good pastor' , ' when xxxxx was here we used to do (heard 5 years after a pastor left - said like it was only yesterday)' It has been researched that many teens drop out of the church because of the cult of the leader. So much emphasis is put on the leader rather than God (and the fellowship of the saints) that people think that when that person moves that they can't possibly continue in their faith. We need to work as a team and point people to God. The Pastor is human (shock horror!) and is not infalliable, neither is a youth leader or worship leader. Youth need to be made aware of the concepts of the body of Christ and their value in it.

Why do you think 20somethings are leaving the church?

Posted in Labels: |

2 thoughts - add yours!:

  1. anna Says:

    I would say like the picture you have Lisa, that a lot of 20somethings are bored with the content... I mean if you listen to a lot of the sermons a lot of them are either irrelevant, teach too much at once or have little application, which links back to some of what you were saying

  2. A. J. Chesswas Says:

    out of interest, what denomination are you part of Lisa?

    I am a twentysomething who left the Pentecostal movement for Anglicanism because so much of the former was getting obsessed with emotional experience at the expense of intellectual understanding.

    Also, there was an age-ism going on in the way they do church. While traditional churches have in the past had an attitude of ignoring the youth, a lot of Pentecostal churches today are thoroughly ignorant of the older ones. As we mature in the faith we realise the value of expressions of church that are intergenerational and centred in unity rather than "marketing"...

    As I have discussed in recent posts, it often feels like the "twentysomethings" are the most ignored both in church politics and worldly politics. It's a shame because in a way we are the missing link between the generations, and if we are allowed to let loose we have the time and ability to draw together very different people. I think God I have that freedom in my church...

    But I wouldn't try to isolate twentysomethings and market to their specific tastes if you're worried about their leaving your denomination. Church is meant to be a body of people who love God and love one another, and draw people in because they are so clearly that. It is not meant to be a body manipulated into attendance, friendship and service because of its cool-ness or entertaining-ness... Sometimes we have to face the hard truth that people won't come to church because they are still selfish and unregenerate...