Christianity Today had an article by Drew Dyck entitled, “The Leavers” about how our 20 somethings are leaving Christianity in droves. Here is the run down on the numbers presented in the article:
- The number of 20 somethings who now claim no religious belief system has doubled over the last 18 years from 11% to 22%.
- Tom Rainer reported a 70% drop out rate in the college years.
- The Barna group predicted a full 80% of those raised in the church will be gone by age 29.
The sad thing is our experience tells us that these are not just numbers. These numbers represent real people who are important to someone and important to God. So they should be important to us. Last summer Donny Dillon, Eric Brown and myself presented some information on ministry to our 20s & 30s at the Spiritual Growth Workshop in Orlando. We were very prepared for the material we presented. What we weren’t as well prepared for was the Q&A that followed. Several parents who had kids who had left their faith had some hard questions they put out on the table. It was emotional. It was sensitive and while I think we handled it well from an academic and personal standpoint it was a big reminder that there is a lot of hurt people both in the church and outside the church on this issue. We have to address it. In my opinion, this is THE ISSUE in the church church right now and how we handle this will have a lot to say about our ability/inability to move forward leading to either growth or stagnation and further decline.
I want to respond to this article in a series of posts and I hope all of you will feel welcome to chime in with your thoughts, observations, and ideas on a path forward toward reaching this generation.
HT: Jerry Starling