Church & Culture
Comments 11

Church Dropouts


English: The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Ca...

A Bunch of Lazy Excuses

According to researchers, Christian young adults are leaving church at an alarming rate. 38 percent of Christians ages 18 to 25 doubt their faith. At the age of 15, 57 percent said they were less active in church and 59 percent have dropped out all together. There are different reasons for the drift according to David Kinnaman, who writes extensively on the subject.
What I want to do here is list six of the arguments young adults have made for leaving the church. This is a critique of the reasons young adults have given for leaving the Church. After each reason, I will share candidly what I think about it. This is not a critique of the book nor its author, but the reasons given to him by these young people.
1. The Church is too Overprotective. The church’s impulses toward creativity and cultural engagement are some of the defining characteristics of the Mosaic generation that are most obvious. They want to re-imagine, re-create, re-think, and they want to be entrepreneurs, innovators, starters. To Mosaics, creative expression is of inestimable value. The church is seen as a creativity killer where risk taking and being involved in culture are anathema.
Seriously, they are leaving the church because of that. You mean they are seriously walking away from a relationship with Jesus because of creativity issues? It seems childish and irresponsible if not lazy to throw one’s relationship with Jesus away because of creativity issues. I wonder who would stop them if they wanted to lead change in this area of the church? Plus isn’t that an outdated argument? It doesn’t seem logical to me to come up with such an analysis of the lack in the church and just walk away. It seems to me like a very lazy excuse. Everbody nowadays wants to rethink – re-event the church. I am all for becoming missional and contextural in one’s approach to spreading the gospel. But so often it is just a pretext for compromise.
2. The Church is Shallow. Among Mosaics, the most common perception of churches is that they are boring. Easy platitudes, proof texting, and formulaic slogans have anesthetized many young adults, leaving them with no idea of the gravity and power of following Christ. Few young Christians can coherently connect their faith with their gifts, abilities, and passions. In other words, the Christianity they received does not give them a sense of calling.
Seriously, anyone who would leave the church, lose their faith and stop following Jesus on the basis of these lame excuses truly never came to grasp the gravity and power of following Jesus. It seems silly to me to drop out of church and stop following Jesus altogether because my church is boring. I am sure I could find at least one that isn’t. This one looks a little childish, lazy and irresponsible to me. I just don’t get. I would argue though that the churches and christians that use formuliac slogans are more grounded in their faith than those who claim they are shallow. For example, when I say God all the time. That is not just a slogan, it is a summary of a deep theological truth that I have come to believe and understand.
3. The Church is anti science. Many young Christians have come to the conclusion that faith and science are incompatible. Yet they see the mostly helpful role science plays in the world they inhabit-in medicine, personal technology, travel, care of the natural world, and other areas. What’s more, science seems accessible in a way that the church does not; science appears to welcome questions and skepticism, while matters of faith seem impenetrable.
Seriously, that 50% of young people have dropped out of church because of science problem? I mean because the church won’t allow you to ask questions about God? Or what? Oh, they (the church) won’t encourage skepticism. Why do you need to be a skeptic anyways? I understand that we can ask the hard questions, but why do you want to be allowed to be skeptical? Furthermore, the science and religion debate has long since been over.
4. The Church is Repressive. Religious rules-particularly sexual mores-feel stifling to the individualist mindset of young adults. Consequently they perceive the church as repressive. Sexuality creates deep challenges for the faith development of young people.
Seriously, contextualize sexuality? What would that look like? What do they want? Do they want the church to take a lax attitude toward sins like fornication! Cross dressing and if a christian can have a same sex relationship? Are they saying that because the church is hard on the issues of sexual immorality they can’t be a part of the church any longer? Oh boy! Fornication is peculiarly evil and these young people want the church to say – go ahead have a little fun… Seriously?
5. The Church is Exclusive. Although there are limits to what this generation will accept and whom they will embrace, they have been shaped by a culture that esteems open-mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance. Thus Christianity’s claims to exclusivity are a hard sell. They want to find areas of common ground, even if that means glossing over real differences

what? Glossing over real differences? Let’s see if we can gloss over acts 4:12 – “there is no other name under heaven by which you can be saved.” I don’t think so. And here is the thing, we want the world to be save but we want to use the world’s ways to save the world… That’s why it’s a hard sell. Jesus “(I) will draw men unto me.” paul said, the prince of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers – it will take supernatural power to draw the unbeliever. He says when the Spirit comes He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Why are trying to do it in our own strength?

6. The church does not allow them to doubt. Young Christians say the church is not a place that allows them to express doubts. They do not feel safe admitting that faith doesn’t always make sense. In addition, many feel that the church’s response to doubt is trivial and fact focused, as if people can be talked out of doubting.
Seriously, this is the poorest of all these excuses. Whoever told them they’ve never struggled with doubt lied to them. Faith doesn’t always make sense, but we hang in there until it does. We don’t stop walking with God because someone thinks we should not have times of doubt. Having said that, sometimes doubt can be a sin! stumbling block, a hindrance to spiritual growt.Frankly, sometimes you cannot afford to doubt.
Could it be that there is deeper problem here. These people, whoever they are, they sound like they are intelligent passionate, aware, driven. But I am thinking, if they are this smart to come up with all these problems they see in yhe church, they must be smart enough to find , pioneer and spearhead a movement for change. Unfortunately all I hear is a bunch of excuses, I mean lazy excuses of young adults who have done absolutely nothing about the problems they faced.
Where are the men of our day? Men like Samuel. Who at the end of a move of God with Eli stood with God and said “speak lord – your servant listens” – than he went out do great thing for God. Where are the men? Men like Josiah . the one who led a revival even at a tender age. Where are the men of our day? Men like the Apostle John.who was placed in hot boilIng oil for sharing about Jesus. A man who still had an affection for Jesus like never before, even after such horrific experience.
I don’t think I have all the answers to these question, but here is what I think is part of the problem to church dropout:
1. Laziness
The failure to press on in the midst of difficult circumstances.
I will give to you the Christian Life is a difficult life. It is not for the easily faint hearted. It demands some hard work. Like, “take up your cross and follow me.” That why I call these six points lazy excuses.

2. Neglect
How much of this is a genuine problem of the church and how much is a problem with the person’s actions, attitudes and neglect. I think it all boils down to are you going to take care of your spiritual responsibilities. The writer of Hebrews wrote to a church that was also tempted to walk away from following Jesus and the one word that stood out was the word neglect. Do not neglect what you heard.

3. Lack of Holy Ghost Power

Paul warned the Galatians of having started the race in the power of God’s Spirit and now trying to finish it in their own strength. We need the power of God at work in us everyday to continue walking with Him

4. Worldview/ Materialistic

Our worldview could also be a problem. The way we try to explain everything through the lens of the material is in deed a problem. Not much of the supernatural is happening in our churches. And when they do it is categorized as weird, strange, and outer worldly.

 

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There are three things I think about every moment of everyday... they consume me deeply. How to: 1. Refine my theological understanding 2. sharpen my ethical rigor 3. and heighten my devotional intensity. These are the things I write about. Welcome you to my blog... Join me on this incredible journey of exploration and discovery of all the things God has in store for His children. Join by following or subscribing. I appreciate your thoughts, comments and friendship. Walter

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Pulpit and the Pew Mini Series | Where are you... Where are you Going?

  2. I think you’ve nailed some of the top idols of our era. Whenever we turn to anything besides God for fulfillment and satisfaction — even our own creativity and self-expression — we are worshiping the creation instead of the One Who created all.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

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  3. arm5 says

    Great article. I believe that this generation of young feel like they are living off of there parents religion. But the question we should be asking ourselves is how can we keep these young people from leaving . But also I believe that these kids are the ones that bulit a relationship with God through their parents relationship with God therefore they are basing it off of what they have seen.

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    • I agree that we should be asking ourselves what can the church do to reverse the trend. To answer the question, I am going to ask another question – what isn’t the church doing already?

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  4. Planting Potatoes says

    good words Walter! All these excuses speak to how the world is constantly trying to change church worship to fit it’s needs; to make church more “comfortable” etc. Church has become nothing more than entertainment, even to Christians, and if they don’t feel “entertained” they will find reasons to leave….I believe that is how Satan is trying to destroy the church….

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  5. Walter, thank you for this though-provoking piece. Unfortunately, it takes hard-times (economic, terrorist, etc.) for people to get serious with God. The Lord, however, is coming soon!

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  6. Oh, the list of ‘reasons’ goes on and on and on. It makes me really sad…partially because I used to give some of those reasons in my years during and after college when I was away from church. They’re all poor excuses and they’re all from people who are unwilling to take any kind of leap of faith in life to believe in something bigger and commit to it. I’m thankful God called me back to church several years ago. Can’t imagine life without it. It’s my favorite place to be. This was shared with us the other day. Thought I’d share it here, too. I think it speaks to the points you’re making. Great post…thanks for writing it.

    ‘You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church.’ -Joel Osteen

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    • Thank God for you Brian! I thank God for He never gives up on us. Thanks for sharing the quote as well. Hebrews 2:3 talks about how dangerous it is to “neglect such a great salvation?” how there are some many things Satan, this world and even ourselves may throw in our way to make us give up. We need to be all the more vigilant.

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