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Christian Counseling: Why Teens and Twenties Are Leaving Church

You may recall the legend of "The Wandering Jew" who made insulting comments to Jesus while carrying His cross and who was subsequently cursed to wander the earth until the second coming. Today, there are many, many wandering Christians who have left the traditional, organized church in search of an alternative church. Each year one million born-again Christians become wanderers, according to Barna research.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group headed a five-year study to determine why those 15 years of age to early twenties were leaving church permanently or for an extended period of time. His findings are reported in his book, "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Church."

Three of five teens and young adults leave the church for a variety of reasons. Kinnaman's research suggested six reasons for their long temporary or permanent departure.

1. Christians are overprotective - "demonize everything outside of the church" and over concerned about the harm caused by movies, music and video games.

2. The Christian experience is shallow - church is boring, faith not relevant to living, and God is missing from church.

3. Churches are antagonistic to science - they perceive Christians as out of step with science or anti-science.

4. The churches teachings on sexuality is simplistic and judgmental - no practical advice on how to live up to expectations of chastity or purity, especially since marriage is often delayed to the later twenties.

5. Christianity is too exclusive - they are close-minded, intolerant and unaccepting of those who are different than themselves, which puts a wedge between them and other races, religions and sources of authority, etc.

6. Church is unfriendly to those who have doubts - it is not okay to express doubts or ask challenging questions. They don't feel safe addressing their most pressing issues regarding their faith.

I wonder if you have experienced any of those concerns yourself? Any suggestions for resolution?    

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Miguelina wrote:
The cuchrh is constantly breaking down, denominations, divisions, someone doesnt agree they go off and make another cuchrh of their own. I made an address list one evening of the cuchrhes in Bartlesville, I STOPPED at 89, that s 89 cuchrhes in Bartlesville alone and that was not all of them. Perhaps our kids are a bit more saavy than we think and can spot a problem alot easier than we think they can. many already come from broken families, broken lives, they dont want to go to a broken cuchrh too. Makes sense when you think about it, doesn t it?

02/07/2012 @ 11:48 PM

2. wauncuv wrote:
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02/08/2012 @ 12:07 PM

3. skquabunim wrote:
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02/11/2012 @ 5:48 AM

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