Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Kids Leave the Church

I am a little hesitant to post this because I couldn't find a link to the original survey results so I couldn't see the methodology or sample group. However, it is still an interesting thing to think about.

"Why Kids Leave the Church After High School" by Sue Bohlin at Tapestry: A Christian Women's Collective.

You can read the whole article, but here are the first two paragraphs:

The Youth Transition Network has released the results of research about why 80% of students in high school youth groups have left the church within a year after high school graduation.

One big reason is the unrealistic expectations that our young people sense from parents and church authority figures. When asked, “What does it mean to be a good Christian,” students responded with a long list of do’s and don’ts, always and nevers.

I don't post much stuff that falls in the realm of youth ministry because that is not my area of expertise. However, the mass exodus of young people from the church after high school strongly affects the discipleship work we do through The Pathway to Discipleship. What I find when people come to the church and commit to engage in the journey of becoming a disciple is that they fall into three main groups: already churched, completely unchurched, or (and I don't have the data yet to back this up but I feel like it is the biggest group) dechurched. More than we find seekers who have never heard about Jesus, we find people who had a relationship with the church at some point and fell away. A lot of these people fell away as children or young adults.

The challenge for this group that the article points to is this: It is not usually that they don't know about Jesus. It is that they think they already know about Jesus and they have some unhelpful images of what that means. I feel like the pathway is actually helping to help people reinterpret their image of God and begin afresh their relationship with Jesus. But that doesn't do anything about what is causing their confusion in the first place.


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