Barna: 6 Reasons Why Young People Leave the Church

From a five-year research project, pollster George Barna offers his take on why young adults leave the church. Barna’s research shows 59 percent of young Christians disconnect from the church after age 15 (either temporarily or permanently) for several reasons:

  • Churches are overprotective (a quarter of young adults polled said churches “demonize everything outside the church”)
  • A shallow experience of Christianity
  • Churches appear antagonistic to science
  • Churches are “judgmental and simplistic” when it comes to issues of sexuality
  • They have questions about the “exclusive nature of Christianity”
  • Churches are unfriendly toward those with doubts

David Kinnaman, Barna Group president, explains: “Most young adults no longer follow the typical path of leaving home, getting an education, finding a job, getting married and having kids—all before the age of 30. These life events are being delayed, reordered, and sometimes pushed completely off the radar among today’s young adults. Consequently, churches are not prepared to handle the ‘new normal.’ Instead, church leaders are most comfortable working with young, married adults, especially those with children. However, the world for young adults is changing in significant ways, such as their remarkable access to the world and worldviews via technology, their alienation from various institutions, and their skepticism toward external sources of authority, including Christianity and the Bible.”

To read the whole report, click here.

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