Today’s younger generation is relationally oriented. Teaching them a set of principles in an isolated setting is not going to inculcate a biblical worldview in many of these teens. As my BreakPoint colleague John Stonestreet says, “When it comes to teens, worldview is as much caught as it is taught’.”
We’ve all seen the statistics and heard the stories: Good Christian kids go to college, grow disillusioned, and leave the faith. In his new book, “You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith,” David Kinnaman writes, “Overall, there is a 43 percent drop-off between the teen and early adult years in terms of church engagement.”
Kinnaman was co-author with my friend Gabe Lyons of the book unChristian, which examined how unbelievers view the Church. But as Kinnaman says, “You Lost Me, on the other hand, is about young insiders”-those who were once part of the Church.
We lose these young people for many reasons, according to Kinnaman’s research. Some have felt that their questions about faith were ignored, or that they were given pat answers. Others had their interest in the arts or sciences discouraged by church members who believed that these couldn’t possibly be Christian vocations. Still others “feel isolated from their parents and other older adults in the realm of faith and spirituality.”
It boils down to this: Young dropouts often feel that the church doesn’t understand their concerns and needs, and has no real guidance to offer. But Kinnaman believes there’s reason for hope. “The majority of young dropouts are not walking away from faith,” he says, “they are putting involvement in church on hold.”