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Why are young people leaving the church?

Why are young people leaving the church?

by Bibi Babatunde-Ikotun

Hello everyone, welcome back to my blog! This topic is such an interesting one that was inspired by a group of believers that I fellowshipped with some weeks ago. Especially with COVID, many churches saw a decline in participation of young adults while others saw an increase in participation. Nevertheless, that young adult phase can be a hard one. A phase where you question if God is real and why do you need to have a relationship with Him. Unfortunately, some are led down the path of atheism while others find the person of Christ. Rules, regulations and doctrines can't keep a person in Christ. Only the person of Christ can keep a person.

Why are young adults leaving the church?

1. Doctrinal teachings that don’t apply to their reality: Many of the teachings are unrelatable and inapplicable to the young people in the church today. A lot of things the older generation experienced is extremely different from what is going on today. At times, the youths are not considered in sermons and prayers. For example, many churches are talking about prosperity a lot, and sometimes it is not applicable to our reality because many are doing well financially. In situations like this, the church is viewed as adding no value to them. 

2. The delivery of the messages is not vulnerable and relatable: Many young adults can relate to Pastor Mike Todd because he doesn't have it all figured out and doesn't fake like he is perfect. He shares his vulnerabilities, his struggles and shows other people how pastors are not immune to situations. This makes them understand that there's nothing wrong with them in their struggles and God's love remains consistent.  

3. The practicality of the gospel is missing: Young adults want to see how the gospel ties into their reality. What does the finished work on the cross mean for them in today's life? How can it be practically used on their all here on earth? They want to see very practical teachings and how scriptures can play out in their lives. How can the gospel play out in every aspect of life. This is lacking in many churches.

4. The message of the gospel is not consistent: Many people think they know what the gospel is but the truth they don't. I was once like that and you can learn more about the gospel here. The truth is any teaching that can not last 2 generations or can’t be applicable in different continents is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many times the inconsistency in the message preached on the pulpit makes it an issue for young adults to stay. Why can't women wear trousers here but in America, the women in the same branch of our church are free to wear trousers? Or why is the doctrine of eternal salvation, not really a doctrine of eternal salvation i.e you're saved by grace but you must work to make heaven? The youth see it as contradictory to what grace means. The truth is once the message is faulty, people will leave especially young people that don't believe in blind loyalty.

5. Experiences of the young adults differ from that of the leadership: What an 18-year-old is facing right now is different from what people 18 years suffered 20 years ago. Things are harder now, in the last days it is harder to be a Christian. Depression, experience, life in general, will force many people out of the church. The pressure of the last day will be hard and times are shifting. This is just the reality of things. No one should refer to young people as weak because of their experiences, it is insensitive. 

Of course, I wouldn't talk about the topic without offering solutions.

How to keep young people from leaving the church.

  • Youth should be giving more platform to lead: If there is general church leadership, let the youth also be represented properly in the general leadership. More youth should be ordained as pastors, deacons and ministers. This helps ensure that their voices and concerns are communicated to the general leadership. Let young people from the age of 16 be taught the word of God and empowered to teach Sunday school. They will be able to see God in their experiences and bless lives with tier testimonies. 
  • The older generation to be open-minded especially when discovering scriptures: The truth is that scriptures can not mean what the author wasn't saying. We can't use our life experiences to explain scripture. The older generation must be willing to see scriptures in the light of God. Let them be taught how to study scriptures contextually and use all the scriptural studying laws to ensure everyone is well taught. Because young people talk about grace doesn't mean that they are empowering themselves to sin. 
  • Let the older generation not be too strict or too judgmental: These things can push young people away rather than bring them close. Because you personally do not like dreadlocks, tattoos, jewelry and certain hairstyles doesn't mean God hats them too. The older generation should be willing to but their preferences in looks aside and help youths flourish and express the life of Christ in them. This also applies to music, because you don't like the sound of RAP doesn't mean it is bad. God can be glorified through any kind of music sang in praise to Him. 

Okay, I have come to the end of the post for today. Please share this link with your pastor, deacon and leadership members in your church. This may be what they need to prevent youth from leaving the church.

with love,

Bibi Babatunde-Ikotun


Check out my latest YouTube video where I share my thoughts about listening to secular music. You'd be blessed!


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