The Startling Response from Young People Who Left the Church

The Startling Response from Young People Who Left the Church
September 11, 2018 Thom Schultz

By Thom Schultz

Young people are staying away from the church in growing numbers. But why?

When you pose that question to those inside the church, it seems everybody has an answer. But are their answers the actual reasons today’s younger generations are fleeing the church?

Well, no. Not according to the actual people who’ve left.

John Vitek, president of Saint Mary’s Press, recently conducted a study among the young who’ve walked away. He said, on the Holy Soup podcast, that the reasons mentioned by the disaffiliated young people bear little resemblance to the reasons often listed by church leaders.

And why is that? It comes down to one factor, a factor that itself is crippling the organized church today. Vitek said he saw this factor come up repeatedly in his research. Over and over, the surveyed young people said, “No one even asked me why I left.” No one cared to listen–while they were attending, or after they left.

I’ve found a similar cry in my research on the state of the church. It seems we’re a lot more eager to tell than listen. And though the world has become increasingly more interactive and relational, the church continues to emphasize one-way communication–from the person with the microphone.

To listen to more insights gained from John Vitek’s research, click here for the Holy Soup podcast:

And, Vitek will be among the many national thought leaders at the Future of the Church summit in October. He will participate in a session entitled “How the New Generation Will Impact the Church.” This summit is highly interactive. You’ll experience a model that includes lots of two-way communication. That alone is worth the price of admission.

*This article originally appeared on HolySoup.com. Visit now for similar articles and podcast. 

President of Group Publishing and author of Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore and Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore and Director of When God Left the Building.

1 Comment

  1. Stuart 2 months ago

    An interesting comment. However, your mistake is in focussing on young people. Try the rest of the ecclesiastical community as well. I’m seventy, and I was brought up with a Bible in my hands, and I won’t go near a church.

    When I stopped attending the last two churches I attended, not one person bothered to contact me even to find out how I was, let alone find out why I was no longer attending.

    Anyone who thinks that they are going to actually have any effect on churches had better make sure that they are well acquainted with Hercules’ efforts to cleanse the Aegean stables, or have some sort of thermo-nuclear device that they are able to shove up the churchs’ joint and several rear end in order to clear out the constipation of complacency and smug self-satisfaction and organisational bureaucracy that exists in most of them.

    They had also make sure that they are able to refocus the church on its role of being a body of believers who are there to edify each other and build each other up, and that means getting them away from being schools, or running “programmes” of various sorts, including those on how to study the Bible, and so on, and getting them back onto what the Bible actually says.

    I must also add that I consider these so-called “home” groups to be the curse of the church, and they become a wonderful way of actually evading responsibility and accountability.

    Stuart Aitchison
    Johannesburg
    South Africa

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