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

6. You give them hand-me-downs.

You’ve tried your best to pass along the internal/subjective faith that you “feel.” You really, really want kids to “feel” it too. But God never called us to evangelize our feelings. You can’t hand down this type of subjective faith.

When kids have nothing solid to hang their faith on, no historic creed tying them to centuries of history, no physical elements of bread, wine and water, then faith is in their subjective feelings. And when kids discover other ways to “feel” uplifted at college, the church loses out to things with much greater appeal to human nature.


5. They want community.

Have you noticed this word is everywhere in the church since the seeker-sensitive and church-growth movements came on the scene? (The reason and driving philosophy behind it is outside the scope of this article.)

When kids leave home, they leave the manufactured community they’ve lived in for nearly their entire lives. With their faith as something they “do” in community, they soon find that they can experience this “life change” and “life improvement” in community in many different contexts.

So, they leave church and…

4. They find better feelings.

Rather than an external, objective, historical faith, we’ve given youth an internal, subjective faith.

The evangelical church isn’t catechizing or teaching kids the fundamentals of the faith; we’re simply encouraging them to “be nice” and “love Jesus.” When young people leave home, they realize they can be “spiritually fulfilled” and get the same subjective self-improvement principles (and warm fuzzies) from the latest life-coach or from spending time with friends or from volunteering at a shelter.

Kids can be truly authentic, and they jump at the chance because…