Why they stayedIt has been widely reported that many young people are leaving the church. What is less often reported is that many stay. Steve Parr and Tom Crites have teamed up to produce and excellent new book on why those who stay, stay. Here are a few excerpts:

  • No generation should be ignored. However, any congregation that fails to reach out to younger groups will eventually die.
  • Unfortunately, in most churches young adults feel the way I feel at a Starbucks–out of place.
  • George Barna’s (an expert in the study of American religious beliefs and behaviors) research points out that only 20% of young adults who were active in church as teens were still active in church at the age of twenty-nine.
  • In addition to what Thom Rainer reported, David Kinnaman from Barna Research found that: “Teenagers are some of the most religiously active Americans … American twenty-somethings are the least religiously active.”
  • In America today, only about 16% of all churches across every denomination have a significant young adult population.
  • Bottom line: young adults are leaving the church and may not be coming back.
  • In the Barna study, many Millennials are described as nomads, prodigals, and exiles. They are disillusioned by the current brand of church. I guess no one can really blame them; they see “Christians” living lives that are no different than the non-Christians in their world. One can imagine the internal dialogue as they ask themselves, “Why should I be a part of an institution that does not make a difference?”
  • Researchers find that the vast majority of this generation expresses a strong sense of faith.
  • One could say that a typical young adult is searching for answers, but that search is not limited to the traditional faith paths.