“…and why others strayed”

What are the top reasons young adults who grew up in church have stopped attending? I hope you are already familiar with the work Tom Crites and I did in our study of young adults who grew up in church and have remained actively involved into their adult lives. The book is “Why They Stay” and it is making a great impact.

Many of the respondents in our study had actually dropped out of church. While that is not the best of news, it was helpful for Tom and I to contrast the attitudes and experiences of those who had stayed active compared with those who strayed. The final question in the survey asked the participants to share in their own words why they had either remained active or why they had stopped attending. We share the top ten “self-described” reasons for remaining faithful as well as for those who dropped out in the closing chapters. I thought it would be instructive to you as a church leader to hear from those who strayed as they share why they left. Here are the top ten reason ranked in order of prevalence with no commentary. You judge for yourself and ask how you might respond to those who have left and prevent those who are still faithful from the same experiences.

Reason Number One:
I had a bad church experience.
Reason Number Two:
I have intellectual doubts regarding faith.
Reason Number Three:
I relocated and have not found a new church.
Reason Number Four:
I cannot find a good church.
Reason Number Five:
Church services conflict with my work obligations.
Reason Number Six:
My own fault/struggles/issues/too busy.
Reason Number Seven:
I have small children and it is too difficult.
Reason Number Eight:
I feel stronger on my own. Church is not necessary.
Reason Number Nine:
I am actively looking now and just have not connected yet.
Reason Number Ten:
Apathy or admitted laziness.

There you have ten reasons, ten sermons, ten leadership points, ten excuses, or ten discussion topics for teens, young adults, or Bible study groups.  Learn more at www.whytheystay.com or at www.steveparr.net. I don’t know about you but I want to do all I can to give students and young adults good reasons to “stay.”