It is no secret that the ranks of the Christian church–the organized Christian church–are thinning. People are less and less likely to be involved in local churches for many reasons. The postmodern ethos is partly to blame (or “credit” might be a better word). Why are people leaving?
Listen to this statistic that I got from a friend who was involved in a survey (it is yet unpublished). When kids go off to college, most of them leave the church for a time. For the most part, worried parents could expect them to come back eventually. Ten years ago, according to this survey, you could expect that eighty percent of those who left church would come back in their late twenties. Do you know what that figure is today? Three percent. . . . (Pausing to let that sink in) . . .
Now, I don’t think that the Proverb that exhorts us to “train up our children in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it” is now false (Prov. 22:6). What I do think is that something has happened to the organized church that has causes people to look for their spirituality elsewhere.
The question is, what has happened? This is part of the cultural prolegomena that I have been talking about in previous blogs. We need to understand the reasons this generation has for their disdain of the organized church. We also need to go beyond the typical (and easy) “Oh, they are just rebellious and don’t love the Lord” answer. This solves nothing. The problem is much deeper and needs to be taken more seriously.
Well, since I started this blog with the intent of only posting a link, let me get to that link. There is a new site out there called “Letters from Leavers.” This site allows those who have left the church to blog the reasons why they have left. I will be referring to this site in the coming months and I encourage you to bookmark it. It is an important study that these guys are undertaking and I am grateful for their commitment to it.
So, why are people leaving the Church? If you have left, why?