Churches have been spending massive amounts of money trying to be “relevant” to the next generation. There are many reasons for the concern. Numerous studies have concluded that young people tend to abandon their faith at the post-secondary level- mostly due to societal pressures of conformity, and due to the fact that they are unable to defend their faith.
A study written by PRRI notes that the American religious landscape is changing. “Unaffiliated” Americans have been on the rise since the early 90’s. In 1991, only 6% claimed they had no religious faith. Ten years later, the percentage more than doubled- 14%.
Sadly, currently 25% of the population does not know or acknowledge God making it the “largest religious group in the United States”.
Are We Reaching the Next Generation?
According to the study, 4 out of 10 young adults (18-29) do not believe in God. This means that 39% of young people have either turned from God, or don’t believe in Him.
So who has been successful in retaining young adults? The Catholic church has 15% of young adults, evangelical Protestant (9%), mainline Protestant (8%), black Protestant (7%), and other non-white Protestants (11%). Non-Christian religions reported 7%.
Some say the reason for this are children not growing up in Christian homes. Yet the study revealed that only 9% fell into this category. 19% of young adults who grew up in the church abandoned their faith as adults, and only 3% of young adults who didn’t know God joined the church.
Why Are People Abandoning the Church
Most people who left the church, according to their findings, left before they turned eighteen. 62% reported they had abandoned the church before becoming an adult. 28% report that they left as a young adult, with 5% left between the ages of 30-40.
The cause? Apparently the lack of belief in what was being taught (60%). 32% reported that they left because their family was never religious, and 29% left due to negative religious teaching (gay and lesbian).
Did Family Dynamics Play a Role?
Yes. Children raised by divorced parents (35%) left the church while 23% of married parents left. 31% of children from divorced parents still attend church compared to 43% of children raised by married couples.
Do families with mixed religions have an effect? 31% left, and 22% stayed. Among Catholics, those with mixed religions had 39% leave, and 66% of those with both parents who were Catholic remained.
The reason that most people turn from God was that they believed that faith caused more problems than it solved (66%). Additionally, 66% believed that children did not need to attend church to learn good values.
The next generation’s perception about God? “A majority of unaffiliated Americans say God is either a person with whom people can have a relationship (22%) or an impersonal force (37%). Only one-third (33%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans say they do not believe in God. ”
It is no surprise that the enemy is reaching the next generation. Messages to accept things that are not godly are being preached to them on a consistent basis. No one is teaching them God’s message with an attitude of love, nor are they explaining it in a way that they can comprehend. They view church as a negative interference that causes a commotion in a world that they feel would be peaceful without it. This is evidenced by the “if it feels good, do it” motto that most children grow up with. They grow up more in the flesh than in the spirit.
How do you reach them? Simple. Tell them the gospel. This has never changed. A simple, open discussion on topics that they are facing and why the Bible says what it does generates an understanding. It counters the message that the world gives. However, if they never hear it, how are they to believe the things of God? If they don’t know why they should believe scripture, nor understand what it says for themselves, how are they to defend it? They lack a firm foundation.
You can have all the bells and whistles to reach the young generation. But without God and Scripture, how can you set this generation up for success?Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Faith Filled Family
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