YOU CAN’T HOLD ON TO THAT WHICH YOU NEVER HAD
Over the past few years, there have been several summaries of studies and surveys regarding young people (millennials) leaving the faith. The numbers reported have been staggering and the interpretations of the results are dismal where as many as 80% of these young people are reported as ejecting out of church once they reach college age.
Recently a group associated with Focus on the Family did research and found that amidst the bad news is some good news and potential hope. The good news is that what is often interpreted as leaving the faith was actually only leaving their church or denomination and switching to another. In many cases, they were leaving for the reason to find a more spiritually robust church.
The news to be grasped is that 18% of these young adults (18-29 years old) say they were raised in the church but are now not affiliated with any church and have walked away from the faith. 89% of the 18% who have walked away stated that though they were part of a church experience, their home modeled a lukewarm, nominal faith. 11% of the 18% who walked away said their parents had a vibrant faith.
So what does this challenge us with? The home is still the primary influence on producing enduring faith. Homes that have a vibrant faith are likely to teach their children how we persevere through the trials of life with the gospel. So this tells us that many who leave the faith, really never had a good grasp of it to start with from their home.
I live in a place where there are good Bible churches that have good youth groups and I now work at an excellent Christian school. All these help, but over the years I have watched young adults from these environments over and over again walk away from the faith. Sending your kids to these is a good thing but nothing takes the place of a home where faith and life in Christ are enthusiastically embraced. Even if the practice at home is far from perfect, it still stands as God’s primary plan for passing on a vibrant faith to the next generation.
The conclusions of this study were as follows:
- Bible teaching churches continue to see healthy growth even as the total church going population is in decline.
- Strong families produce lasting results.
- The search for meaning in life continues to be pursued.
- Millennials want a serious faith, not entertainment focused.
To read the complete report: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/about_us/focus-findings/religion-and-culture/millennial-retention.aspx