November 28, 2006

Losing the Teenagers

In a front-page article last month in The New York Times ('Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers'), Laurie Goodstein reported that
Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.

At an unusual series of leadership meetings in 44 cities this fall, more than 6,000 pastors are hearing dire forecasts from some of the biggest names in the conservative evangelical movement. ...

While some critics say the statistics are greatly exaggerated ... there is widespread consensus among evangelical leaders that they risk losing their teenagers. ...

The board of the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group representing 60 denominations and dozens of ministries, passed a resolution this year deploring “the epidemic of young people leaving the evangelical church.”
I know, I know, it's hard to believe anyone would leave a movement so marked by depth, richness, and seriousness of purpose. Any ideas out there on what to do about it?


  1. I had a professor in seminary who observed that the churches that taught their children the catechism retained them later in life. The reasons should be obvious - better understanding of the church's teaching, better understanding of the Bible, etc. But if churches insist on blurring the line between the church and the world (via your linked previous post), it should be no surprise when our children cross it.

  2. Steve L.1:00 PM

    It seems that the mega-church, contemporary movement may have attracted a large number of people who grew up with a respect for church, but liked the new easy, entertaining way to do church. Students in todays post-modern world see past the shallowness and are searching for something deep, rich, authentic, and true. When they look to church, will they find a poor man's attempt at MTV or X-box, or will they find the deep riches of God and His Word?