I am reading the book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith.
The main idea I have gotten from the book so far is that the problem is a disciple-making problem. The church is not adequately preparing young people to follow Christ faithfully in their rapidly changing culture. “Teenagers are the most religiously active group in America. American twentysomethings are the least religiously active group.” What has happened to them? Why have they not remained faithful.
Young Christians are describing Christianity as hypocritical, judgmental, too political, and out of touch with reality.
Survey of Protestant young people ages 18 – 29
- Ever dropped out of attending church, after going regularly - 61%
- Ever personally been significantly frustrated about your faith – 51%
- Compared to age 15, less spiritual today – 31%
- Compared to age 15, less active in church today – 58%
- Went through a period when you significantly doubted your faith – 41%
- Went through a period when you felt like rejecting your parents’ faith – 35%
The author (David Kinnaman) breaks this group of “lost” young people into three groups.
- Nomads – walk away from church engagement but still consider themselves Christians
- Prodigals – lose their faith; describing themselves as “no longer Christian”
- Exiles – are still invested in their Christian faith but feel stuck between culture and the church
These lost young people have a favorable view of Jesus but they aren’t personally committed to the faith. Many have not lost faith in Christ but have lost faith in the church. They see the church as not culturally relevant.
“They read and respect the Bible (for information) but they do not perceive that its words lay claim to their obedience (wisdom).”
I will continue to pray for our young people. They are our hope for the future.