Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions 60% of Young People Leave Church Starting at 15

60% of Young People Leave Church Starting at 15

Leadership Journal examines David Kinnaman’s new book, You Lost Me: Why Young People Are Leaving the Church…and Rethinking Faith; Kinnaman’s research shows that six in ten young people will leave the church starting at age 15. Reasons cited include the church’s demonization of their culture, shallow teaching, exclusive behavior of the membership, the church’s view on sex before marriage, and the feeling that they can’t express their doubts.

Kinnaman said churches are not prepared to handle the “new normal” of young people who don’t follow the traditional path of leaving home, getting married and having kids. He also says many churches either ignore the situation or they “use all means possible to make their congregation appeal to teens and young adults.”

“Cultivating intergenerational relationships is one of the most important ways in which effective faith communities are developing flourishing faith in both young and old,” says Kinnaman. “In many churches, this means changing the metaphor from simply passing the baton to the next generation to a more functional, biblical picture of a body—that is, the entire community of faith, across the entire lifespan, working together to fulfill God’s purposes.”


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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.