Why Some Young People Leave the Faith

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– [G’Joe Joseph] So this is a broad
question, a very general question in that many 20-somethings leave for
many different reasons. So it’s very difficult to answer this
question in a succinct manner in just, you know, one or two bullet points. So let me just try to kind of address some
of the trends that might be happening from our perspective. I think that some of our thoughts on this
probably are less about their 20-somethings as much as kind of what
happened a decade earlier or even 2 decades earlier. And in their relationships that are
formulating within the church outside of their friend group,
it’s usually just one person, a youth minister, a youth leader that they
have built kind of deep relationships with. And I think that even a book that was
referenced to us in raising our children was a book called “Sticky Faith,” that
talks about this idea of needing to have a constellation, like, three to five other
mentors outside of parents to really begin to speak into that. And it’s not only that book,
but Michael Lindsay’s book, “View From The Top.” It’s a book on leaders and how they’re
developed, and in that, he talks about the need for organic
relationships. Not just institutional mentoring or
structural mentoring, but the need for real authentic and
organic relationships. And the best institutions and the best
churches, I would add, create opportunities for those organic
relationships in an ecosystem of relationships. And so, when you have 3 to 5,
to 10 folks that really know you in your teens, when it comes to your 20s,
I think there’s a less of a likelihood to just be simply leaving. But if it’s just 1 or 2, a pastor,
a youth pastor, and they’re gone by the time that you’re into your 20s,
I think that, that is inevitable at some level. The other trend that you can see is just
the lack of real gospel authenticity. I think that we’ve created a culture in
which the celebrity Christianity is king, and to be strong,
and to have it put together, and to have incredible gifts of speaking,
and whatever is on the surface has been kind of the…is what it looks like to be
really a follower of Christ. And unintentionally,
we have not proclaimed a gospel of weakness, a gospel of authenticity,
the gospel of brokenness. And I think with that, when
20-somethings begin to see that in the real world, if you would, and they don’t
see an answer coming from the church, that there’s a divide that happens,
that ends up, you know, guiding them away, if you would. – [Aimee Joseph] Yeah. And I think I would add the idea of
content and context. A lot of churches are really great at
offering content, and maybe systems, or structures, like you said.
“This is our women’s Bible study,” or “This is our track.” And I think this generation is really
looking for, not to lose the content, but the context is incredibly significant,
and it needs to be safe, and it needs to be authentic,
and it needs to be relational, like you said. Relationship, relationship, relationship. And I think where we’ve really moved
towards a lot of church systems and programs, and what they really need
are people in their lives. And living out that content,
not just talking about it. And so, I think the onus is on us, as
the church, to adorn our doctrine. I think we’ve done a really good job
declaring our doctrine before the world, and I think to adorn it, to live it out,
to show them that there’s substance underneath the flesh,
that we’re not just saying it, but it’s really changing our lives. It’s vitally important to our lives, and
therefore, it can vitally impact theirs. And then the other thing I
would say is ownership. I think that in part of our pandering
maybe in trying to mimic the culture as the church, we’ve created this very
consumeristic model of Christianity. And so, come and have this great
experience since we’re going to have great branding, and great music,
and great snacks, and great coffee, and all great things. And they’re getting a great experience,
but they’re not part of it. They’re coming to receive, and I think
that this generation, this upcoming generation really wants to have
their hands to the plow. They want to roll up their sleeves and
they want to get to work, and they want to be part of
owning something. And I think we haven’t done a great job of
giving them a seat at the table. They want to know that they are part of
shaping something that’s real. And I fear that they think if I don’t show
up, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t leave a hole in this place. And not that they are the center of
it, but they have a significant part to play in the kingdom going forward. And I think allowing that next generation
a seat at the table, not to take over and completely control,
but beginning to kind of posture them for leadership and to hear what they have
to say, to hear their insights from the younger generation rather than just kind
of decry it as, “Oh, you’re just a millennial,” or… I think a mutuality and a reciprocity of
relationships between the older generations and the younger generations is
very New Testament. I think the church seems to thrive when
both of those things are present, and both have something to receive from the
relationship.

 

5 Responses

  1. jessy jonas

    October 9, 2019 5:59 pm

    There are many different reasons. The first that comes to mind is the parable of the (sower)soils. Matthew 13:1-23. Also I strongly believe that the testimony of many has somehow given a lot of people the idea that the salvation experience follows this pattern;
    1. Get saved when you are 3 yrs
    2. Love God until you reach teenage yrs.
    3. Fall away from God. Start smoking, drinking and sexual immorality.
    4. Go to college and cement the ungodly lifestyle.
    5. Boy meets girl and they start a life.
    6. Somewhere in all the mess, someone gets saved or rememberd that they were saved from 3 yrs. Old.
    7. Come back to Christ in middle to old age.
    (i.e. there has to be Rumshpringa)
    Also there is a feeling with some that a Godly lifestyle is not for the young. They feel you waste your life when you get serious for God in your youth. They feel you may not get the things you want from life ( marriage, kids, money, fame) or as the scripture records, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life.
    What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul or what can a man give in exchange for his soul. Mark 8:36-37.
    The church also should challenge the youth to take a stand for their faith. Draw them into corporate bible study and not just ' bible study ' when they meet to encounter the opposite sex. Draw them into corporate prayer. Return to the principles that bear fruit.
    " He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadows of the Almighty. Psalm 91.✝️

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  2. The Gospel Outpost

    October 9, 2019 6:29 pm

    Thank you so much for not dismissing us as millennials. Personally, the message often given on social media is to blast the “snowflakes” as ruining this country etc. Yet all this does is widen the gap between the generations. In truth, both generations need the other one and need to give up space for the other to thrive as one body.

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  3. psa110

    October 9, 2019 7:11 pm

    I think some young people leave the faith because they find no relevance to their purpose in life. The church does not see purpose on earth other than getting people to Heaven, that God created us in His image to do more than bide our time here after we get saved until we get to heaven. The mandate of Genesis 1 is ignored.

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  4. jessy jonas

    October 11, 2019 12:28 pm

    Predestination is sound scriptural doctrine! Nothing challenges the things of God! God's ways are perfect. Psalm 18:40. God's sovereignty and omniscience are not incompatible with human free will. Human free will is subject to the control of the Almighty ( it would have to be or else he would not be God, and the ALL MIGHTY ONE!!). Yet , 2 Peter 3:9 . …not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance , stands. So also the scripture, Romans 9:18 " therefore he has mercy on whom he wills, and whom he wills he hardens.
    Is there unrighteousness with God, certainly not! Romans 9:14.✝️

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