Why Johnny College Isn’t Coming To Church

college_thumbI’ve been reading many different statistics that give us reasons about why college students are leaving the church after high school. There are various reasons and excuses that are being tossed around.

Over the next few weeks we will be giving various information and opinions about why there seems to be a large exodus by graduation high school students and twenty-somethings from the church.

Is there a problem or is there not a problem? Who is to blame? Should we just move on and change or try and fix the issue?

Orginally published on Monday, July 27, 2009 at 8:38 AM
Todd Rhoades

Recently, my friend Ed Stetzer gave a presentation at the International Christian Retail Show on some of the research he’s doing at LifeWay. He shared the top reasons they’ve found that young adults are dropping out of church these days. Among the reasons:

1. They simply want a break from church (27%);
2. They felt church members are judgmental and/or hypocritical (26%);
3. They moved to college and didn’t find another church (25%);

4. They have work responsibilities that keep them from attending (23%);
5. They moved too far from church (22%);
6. They just got too busy, even though they’d still like to attend (22%);
7. They didn’t feel connected to the church in the first place (20%);
8. They disagreed with the church’s political/social stance (18%);
9. They decided to spend more time with friends (17%);
10. They were just going to church to please their parents (17%).

That is some interesting information. I’d love to see how this meshes with the reasons that older adults leave the church. I think there are similarities, regardless of age.

One of the biggest reasons adults give for dropping out of church is that they feel people in the church are judgmental and hypocritical. Another reason often given is work responsibilities. And then there are those who just want a break, others who have moved and haven’t reconnected with a new church, or are just too busy. And these days, many of us disagree with the church’s political and/or social views.

And just going to church to please your parents? Well that’s still a good excuse, no matter your age. Except maybe it’s your spouse, or another family member you’re aiming to please.

Why do people leave your church? No, really. Why do people leave? Think of the last 5 families that have left your church. Do you even know why they left? And did you or anyone discuss their decision with them after they left?

Young people AND adults leave churches for the silliest reasons. Sometimes a gentle prodding or talk can rescue them from their inactivity in the church. Sometimes not. But too often, we just let them go. We allow their laziness or lousy reasoning to keep them from our or any church, and stand by as they distance themselves from the One who wants, more than anything, to have a day-by-day relationship with them.

Is there someone you should call today to say, “Hey, how are you doing? I’ve been missing you?”

Thanks, and have a great week! You can email me at trhoades@mondaymorninginsight.com.



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