There’s a lot of discussion among church leaders of all denominations these days about young adults leaving the church.

The reality is, however, that most young people stop attending church long before they hit their 20s… “We lose more kids transitioning between Sunday school and youth programs than from teens to young adult status,” says Rick Hiemstra of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

This is why we focus so much on establishing relationships with youth – we don’t want to lose them! Whether it’s Studio 15, Homework Club, or Donuts & Discussion the volunteers and leaders at Kingsview and Studio 15 are responding to God’s call to disciple as many of the young people that are in our community as we can.

Like the rest of us, youth generally approach their spirituality in four different ways. Unlike adults, they may not yet be set in their ways.

Into what category do the youth you know fall? How about you personally?

Engagers: experience God’s love and answers to prayer; take opportunities to serve and lead in their local church, attend camps, and go on mission trips; usually have parents that consistently live out their faith.

Fence Sitters: experience God’s love and answers to prayer; make life choices that conflict with Biblical teaching; have somewhat positive feelings about church, but want it on their own terms; often have parents with inconsistent patterns of church attendance and spiritual practices.

Wanderers: spiritual practices are almost totally absent; usually hold on to religious identity for the sake of family; believe that the teaching of the church is incompatible with their lifestyle; usually have parents that stopped attending church and/or have written off organized religion – like their parents they are unlikely to join another faith group.

Rejecters: were often raised in a Christian environment; have turned their backs on organized religion and/or report being atheists; did not have or did not take opportunities to use their gifts in church or be involved in leadership; are cynical about Christians/Christianity and find the church to be judgmental and unaccepting; usually have parents that don’t consistently live out their faith.

Reginald Bibby, a renowned faith sociologist and researcher, finds that people’s patterns of staying, leaving and returning to church life the same across age groups – they are dependant on authentic relationships and meaningful experiences. The main factors, especially for young people are spiritually engaged parents, experiences of God, vibrant community and empowering teaching & beliefs.

Join me in praying that God will help us be this kind of church!


Why They’re Leaving, Faith Today