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Ryan Burge: The Biggest Reason Why People Are Leaving Church

“If a religion wants to grow or even stay stable, retention is the easiest way to do that.”

“In 2022, a 40-year-old woman is twice as likely to say she’s never been married as a 40-year-old woman was to say in 2008. It’s gone from 13% never married by their 40th birthday to 26% never married by their 40th birthday…Marriage as an institution has really collapsed over the last 10 or 15 years.”

“​​The number of people who are having children now is the lowest it’s ever been.”

“Evangelicals are actually really good at retaining their own. They’re actually the best of any religious group. So about 75% of kids who are raised evangelical stay evangelical into adulthood. Now, it used to be 80%. So there has been a little bit of erosion there.”

“Sending your kids away to college is not a guarantee they’ll leave religion behind. Actually, the opposite is true.”

“[College students] need to be part of a church that they regularly go to during college. That’s really important. And they also need to be part of some type of Christian ministry.”

“A third of evangelicals in our data set who were exvangelicals were retired people. We don’t talk about that very much.”

“Meh’ is the key phrase in 2023 about religion…They don’t have antipathy towards religion. They really don’t feel that much toward religion at all.”

Mentioned in the Show

20 Myths about Religion and Politics in America” by Dr. Ryan Burge
The Great Dechurching: Who’s Leaving, Why Are They Going, and What Will It Take to Bring Them Back?” by Michael Graham and Jim Davis with Dr. Ryan Burge
The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going” by Dr. Ryan Burge

Religion Has Become a Luxury Good” by Dr. Ryan Burge

Reltrad Coding Problems and a New Repository” by Dr. Ed Stetzer and Dr. Ryan Burge

Check out Ryan’s website
Follow Ryan on X/Twitter

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” by Robert Putnam

Evangelism Leaders Fellowship
General Social Survey
Modeling the Future of Religion in America” by Pew Research Center
Outreach magazine