Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Why Youth Leave the Church: 10 Surprising Reasons Teens Disappear

Why Youth Leave the Church: 10 Surprising Reasons Teens Disappear

9. They never attended church to begin with.

From a Noah’s ark-themed nursery to Jumbotron summer-campish children’s church, to pizza parties and rock concerts, many evangelical kids have been coddled in a not-quite-church but not-quite-world hothouse. They’ve never sat in a pew between a set of new parents with a fussy baby and a senior citizen on an oxygen tank.

Want to know why youth leave the church? They don’t see the full timeline of the gospel for every season of life. Instead, we’ve dumbed down the message, pumped up the volume, and then act surprised when…

8. They get smart.

Are we surprised by youth leaving the church? Students don’t get smarter when they leave home; rather, someone actually treats them as intelligent! Rather than dumbing down the message, the agnostics and atheists treat youth as intelligent and challenge their intellect with “deep thoughts” of question and doubt.

Many of these doubts have been answered, in great depth, over the centuries of our Christian faith. However…

7. You send them out unarmed.

Let’s be honest: Most churches send young people into the world embarrassingly ignorant of the faith, which plays a role in why youth leave the church.

How could we not? We’ve jettisoned catechesis, sold kids on “deeds not creeds,” and encouraged them to start the quest to find “God’s plan for their life.”

Yes, I know your church has a What We Believe page, but are preachers actually teaching and reinforcing that from the pulpit? I’ve met evangelical church leaders (“pastors”) who don’t know the difference between justification and sanctification. I’ve met board members at large churches who don’t understand Christ’s atonement.

When we choose leaders based on their ability to draw and lead rather than to accurately teach the faith, well, they don’t teach the faith.

Surprised? And instead of the orthodox, historic faith…