A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be in Charleston for Connect, a conference aimed at helping churches reach and keep young adults. At one of the sessions, Sam Rainer spoke about why 18-22 year olds drop out of church. Here are some of the interesting takeaways that Sam gave us.
The dropout problem begins at age 16. Spending 18 years in student ministry, this didn't surprise me. I think this has a lot to do with the freedom that comes from getting a drivers license and a car. They may already be looking for a way out of church because they are bored, are not challenged, have friends who don't attend a church, sense hypocrisy, or get busy with school, job, etc. The freedom that comes with a car allows them to make the decision to drop out of church.
Many drop out because they become tired of 'doing church.' They don't see faith as an important part of their families' lives. They are not given a reason for being at a building on Sundays other than it's what we do as a family.
Activity does not equal active. In other words, being involved in church programs and events will not keep someone active in his/her faith. It is not wrong to have students and children involved in stuff at church but it is NOT enough.
There are three markers for keeping a student active in his/her faith. The first is having a family that regularly discusses spiritual matters. The second is having a family that serves together in and through the church. The third is having a family that prays together. If a student's family is not spiritual or intact, the key is to get other adults involved in the lives of the student.
Great info and ideas. I'll share some more in the coming days.
-- Peace, Jamie