Refuel (Pt.8)
Top 10 Life Changes that Cause Young People to Drop Out of Church

Top 10 Reasons People Quit Church

Here's an interesting post taken from Steve Murrell's blog. Steve is the co-founder of Every Nation, a thriving network of churches around the world, with its headquarters in Manilla, Philippines ...

The American church loses 70% of its 18 and 22 year olds. That’s scary. Think about your youth group, the teens in your church and in your family - by the time they are 22 years old - 70% will no longer go to church.

There’s a lot of talk about reaching the “un-churched” – but what about the “de-churched” who walked away from the church of their parents? Thousands of young people used to go attend church, but not any more. Why?

According to research in a soon to be released book by Thom Rainer, here are the top 10 reasons young Americans quit church.

10. I was only going to church to please others.

9. I want to spend more time with my friends.

8. I disagreed with the church’s stance on political or social issues.

7. I didn’t feel connected with the people in my church.

6. I became too busy.

5. I moved too far away.

4. My work responsibilities prevented me from attending.

3. I started college and stopped church.

2. Church members seemed too judgmental or hypocritical.

1. I simply wanted a break from church.

The #1 reason young people quit church is tragic – “I wanted a break from church.”
But why? Maybe #2 causes #1.

Comments

Is there an implied "It makes no difference in my life" in there somewhere?

A testimony like this is not so uncommon: "My mates down the pub love me. They help me move and bring pizzas over Friday to watch movies. My mate was there when my mom died and helped me through. How does church help?"

Maybe that's more from an unchurched guy than the dechurched guy but maybe not altogether irrelevant.

People can be surrounded by mild mannered church goers all their life and never see any impact on their lives, either positive or negative. When the guy down the pub pops in for a pizza and shows as much affection as anyone at the church what's the difference?

Love is not all the church has to offer. When people see an impact on their lives they are less likely to have the "take a break" attitude. Sometimes people take a break not so much because they dislike it but just because it becomes wearisome and boring.

Jesus is anything but boring. If He's around people are going nowhere. Jesus makes a difference.

I left the church when I was 16. If I could narrow the reasons down it would have been that:

(a) sleep was more appealing on a Sunday morning than the Anglican liturgy which I had heard approximately 600-700 times over my life.

(b) my relationships with boys I THOUGHT was fulfilling my need for connection and relationship (both the needs that are fulfilled by God and those fulfilled by being in Christian community)

(c) despite a Christian upbringing I had already wandered so far from God that church seemed irrelevant - if you are pursuing the world then teaching on pursuing a godly life makes no sense and seems entirely useless

I guess my reflection on this topic is that church was not the turning point in either my falling away or my return, my church attendance or lack thereof was fruit of my good/bad relationship with God.

The deterioration of my relationship with God led to my stopping church attendance. Going back to church only came after He had come and rescued me. Once I had been reconciled to God, and He had changed my heart so that I loved Him, then I really didn't care anymore how early a service was, how dodgy the music was, how far I had to drive, how much sleep I didn't get--church THEN became important just because He said it was important. Same thing with prayer, bible reading/study etc. I even occasionally attend Anglican services, and quite enjoy the liturgy ;-)

I think we need to avoid putting the cart before the horse. If people have a vibrant relationship with Christ then church attendance will come naturally. If they are depending on themselves, or are seeking after "other gods" then pursauding them to come to church will do them little good. After all the great commission was to go out and make disciples, not just church-goers. I think we should worry more about helping people fall in love with the amazing God we have in Jesus, and help them to see the majesty and the glory of His grace, and worry less about church attendance.

I think it's like Augustine said, "Love God and do what you want". Meaning of course that when we love someone it changes what we want, so that we want the things that pleases the beloved. If we don't love Christ, we are not going to love church. And if we don't understand His grace towards us, then we are going to have difficulty with the imperfections (e.g. hypocrisy, judgementalism) of other Christians.

God bless,
Bec

The reason the Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are not offended in Me," is that the local church is a very offensive place. Even someone with a "vibrant" relationship with Christ will be dealt some pretty serious blows. That is just how it is. No one escapes offenses; they are sure to come. Everyone who sticks it our over time has had to learn to deal with offenses, or they are the walking dead.

I think that we all hunger, not for perfect people, but for authentic relationships, and we are coming up empty.

We want people to know our name, be glad we came, and to find that our troubles are all the same, just like a bar.

Let's be honest and say that is probably not true at most churches, most of the time.

I remember truly enjoying going to church as a child, and I did not know the Lord. I looked forward to seeing the people who took a personal interest in me, and spent time talking to me every Sunday. They just cared. They were not recruiting me to volunteer for a project, selling anything or trying to raise money for a missions trip. They just took the time to care about me as an individual.

As an adult Christian, who attends a Bible believing church, I don't see anyone like that on Sunday. Paul had trouble finding people who honestly cared for the body of Christ as well. Maybe the answer is that we need to just start doing it.

This is an abridged version of part of my testimony. Because of some family crises that happened in my mid to late teens, one of which hit me especially hard and had trouble coping with, I spent almost five years outside of the church.

While I didn't go off the rails or do anything silly, but I just couldn't face up to sitting in church, going through the motions, and being around people who didn't seem to care about me. It was my mother's church more than mine, and felt more disconnected from it than before. I didn't realise this at the time, but I was experiencing a prolonged bout of depression.

I went on to uni after high school, and ended up joining a Christian group. Unlike most of the Christians I knew at the time, they showed genuine interest in me as a person, and helped me get back on track spiritually.

Eventually I made a complete break with the congregation I was brought up in and baptised at, and just over thirteen years ago, found a new spiritual home. Because of these experiences, to some extent I sympathise with those who may be disillusioned with the church. Recognising that it's made up of flawed people, like it or not I accept that we as Christians are required to be part of it. Coals taken out of the fire don't stay hot.

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