I work with young people a lot and I really enjoy that part of my ministry. Focusing on young people keeps me young and gives me great hope for the future. There are many terrific young people committed to Jesus and willing to give their lives for the cause. They are, however, a little more cautious when it comes to the church as they know it.
According to David Kinnaman’s research for his book “You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith” there are 6 main reasons regular churchgoing teens disconnect from the church after age 15.
1> Christians seem overprotective
2> Teens’ and 20-somethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow
3> Churches come across as antagonistic to science
4> Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
5> They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
6> The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
I believe that the church needs to address these issues and make some changes – not in what we believe but in the way we are perceived and understood. We have done a very poor job of explaining ourselves and speaking in a way that others can understand our positions in relationship to the gospel of Jesus we are to share with others.
Seth MacFarlane, creator of the animated TV series “Family Guy,” in his October 15, 2011 speech accepting the Harvard Humanist of the Year Award said: “There are religious folks who acknowledge science, [but] the rest live by what believers call “blind faith.” What these believers are demanding is more like Helen Keller faith. “If you don’t understand your world, you just moan and throw [stuff] at it.”
Maybe it is time we paid closer attention to the voices outside the church.