I recently read startling statistics from a blog that referred to the percentage of young people who leave church and never come back. According to the writer, basically 70 percent of young adults who were raised in church “got out of Dodge” when given the chance.
Some would return in later years, after having children and seeing the necessity of bringing them up in the house of God.
I’m the first to admit that online facts can be sketchy. After all, just the other day I read online where Abraham Lincoln said that you couldn’t trust everything you read on the Internet. The problem is, I have a well-researched book that points to the same figures. This book goes on to say that by middle school, most teens have made up their minds as to what they will do with church when they make the rules. Two-thirds have already left church in their heart. Before too long, those feelings will have feet and we will continue to see the decline.
This problem spans denominations and worship styles, and is too complicated to fully address here.
What I will say is this: one of the biggest problems is when church leaders try to cater to the people. They ask what the people want and bend over backward to give it to them. Unaware they are trying to tame an untamable ideal, they fan the flames that burn away the joy of the church. People need to hear the truth, but sadly most do not want to. As the old adage goes, “Ignorance is bliss.”
Instead of being a lighthouse for the world, the church has become a harbor for worldly influences. No longer is a difference between the two seen, and consequently there is no difference in the life of the attendee.
This is not the only problem, but it is part of a larger issue. I’ll end by saying this: the church was designed to go out into the world, not the other way around. When you dilute something, you weaken its effectiveness. May our light shine bright and our colors fly high.
Jerry Boyce is the Youth Pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Fort Mill.