- Six Reasons Young People Leave the Church
- 5 Possible Reasons Young Americans Are Leaving Church and Christianity Behind
- Top 10 Reasons our Kids Leave Church
- Top 10 Reasons the Church Is Losing Our Youth
- Why Our Youth Are Leaving the Church
And the list goes on… All you have to do is google anything in regards to why young people leave the church and you will find a plethora of articles and books written about the subject. In almost of all them that you will read, you will find the fault lying somewhere with the church.
I appreciate all the info, statistics, research, opinions, etc. on why our young people leave the church. There is definitely great information to help us improve as a church to make sure we are understanding specific issues and how they affect others. However, I see these reports so much that it makes me think the church stinks. The impression to those in the church is that WE aren’t doing enough… and we certainly could do more. But if I was a young person and I saw all of these reports being shared everywhere, I could probably start subconsciously believe that my church is not for me.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am trying to say here. Initially, you might think that I have no interest in young people and that they need to just get over it. But that is the furthest from the truth. I work diligently as a layman to minister to the young people of this day. My heart is heavy for them and I am always in their corner. Many of the youth programming I am involved with is more progressive than the usual church ministries and I like to think outside of the box.
At one of the youth programs I run, I had each youth write anonymous letters to the church about how they feel about the church and seal them in an envelope. I passed out those letters at the next church service to a few elders and both pastors to respond to the letters for me and I would bring them back to the youth program and read the letters and the responses to create discussion. In a few of the letters the youth stated that the church doesn’t do enough youth stuff and is not very youth-friendly. I was a little shocked and wanted to defend my church because I knew that we have several youth programs (including the one they were at) and many people sacrificing their time and effort to minister to the young people. But to my surprise, a few of the youth did that for me. Those few pointed out all the stuff our church does for young people and all the time the volunteers put in to ministering to the youth. In the end, everyone agreed that our church is very youth-friendly.
That experience helped me to understand that sometimes no matter how much you do for people, some will just never be satisfied. It also showed me that despite that fact, I have to continue onward ministering to our young people knowing that the wheat and the tares will have to grow together.
I see an ever increasing desire in young people to want to have their needs met at church. “I don’t like the music.” “There aren’t enough fun things to do.” “The pastor is boring.” etc. Let’s face it; our society is very much circled around what we want. It really isn’t just the youth, but across all demographics. In general, we have lost the desire to seek the best in others and to consider the other person’s interest above our own. In a church setting, we want it to be about us and there is a lack of focus that we are there to worship God and do what He wants us to do.
The church should focus on influencing young people to love Jesus and to give Him their all. However, in percentage of time… the church has very few hours with our young people and can only impact them so much. If our concerns are focused on why young people leave the church, then the home environment is where the church should spend more time and energy on. In order to fix the majority of issues surrounding why young people leave the church, we need to focus on building Christ-like families and supporting initiatives that promote loving Christ-like homes. A 1-2 punch so-to-speak with 1 being the home and 2 being the church.
In my observations in youth ministry I find that the home is one of the biggest reasons on why young people never connect with the church or have the desire to be selfless servants of Jesus. There needs to be a renewed focus on spending the time to raise children in the ways of Christ, either by the parents’ own life examples (not the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality) or by more in-home family worship, Bible study, and ministering to the less fortunate. Jesus should be the singular focus in the family and everything else should permeate from that focus.
Another observation from what I hear from the youth is that they do not have enough time to read their Bible. We are at war, families! The fallen one wants our children preoccupied with other things. If we are too busy to take the kingdom of heaven seriously in our own lives, our children will also learn from that behavior.
Preparing our children for eternity should always be the main focus. I am not suggesting moving to a remote location and waiting on some rock for Christ to come. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Your children learn from your behavior. Show them the love of Christ through your interaction with them. Provide them the example of which they are to follow by spending time with them, especially in spiritual things and being a part of the body of Christ. Take a time-out from the busyness of life and go for a walk and talk about Jesus and the hope we have. Your children will either obtain eternal life or eternal darkness. The route they choose will be their decision, but they need influence in understanding that this world is temporary and what Christ has for us on the horizon is eternal. Philippians 3:20 gives us our direction – “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We need a revolution in our lives in regards to priorities. Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” The Bible also says in 1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Do you want your children to experience the love of the Father? Then I would suggest that this world not be your top priority. Show them that eternal things are the most important.
Let’s face it… Being in heaven with Jesus is priority number one for your children. In the end, nothing else matters. Preparing your children for eternal life is the most precious thing you can do for them. Not only will they be thankful to you as they grow older, but they will be thanking you when they get to walk and talk with Jesus in the new kingdom.
Please check out these resources and Bible verses to assist in understanding the importance of the Jesus in the home.
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
” Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21
“For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” Genesis 18:19
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13
“The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day; The father shall make known Your truth to the children.” Isaiah 38:19
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:7
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother… Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” Proverbs 29:15, 17
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17