“Oh, he’ll come back. . .
He just needs a few years out in the world.”
This is how one pastor explained his son’s apostasy. The boy had said the prayer at age six. He was safe. It was only a matter of time an he would come back. Right?
LifeWay Research just released a study on “Christian teens” who stop attending church between the ages of 18 and 22. Here are a few highlights:
- According to the study, 70 percent of young adults ages 23-30 stopped attending church regularly for at least a year between ages 18-22.
- The paths toward college and the workforce are also strong reasons for young people to leave church: “I moved to college and stopped attending church” (25 percent) and “work responsibilities prevented me from attending” (23 percent).
- In addition to moving to college, others simply “moved too far away from the church to continue attending” (22 percent) and, it can be assumed, did not find a closer church.
- Many of those who drop out do eventually return. Among church dropouts who are now ages 23-30, 35 percent currently attend church twice a month or more. Another 30 percent attend church more sporadically. Thus, about two-thirds of those who leave do return at some level.
You can read the full report at the LifeWay Research website. But I would like to hear what you think.
- Were you a church dropout?
- Should we just accept this as a normal part of growing up Christian?
- How would you explain this trend?