A study by LifeWay Research reveals that “more than two-thirds of young adults who attend a Protestant church for at least a year in high school will stop attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.” Many young adults did not plan ahead of time to leave the church but through life-changes, choices and career moves, many do end up leaving.
What’s the answer? “In our three studies related to church attendance practices: The Formerly Churched, Church Switchers and now the Teenage Dropout study, one thing is abundantly clear,” stated Brad Waggoner, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay. “Relationships are often the glue that keep people in church or serves as the attraction to begin attending again following a period of absenteeism. Many people are deeply influenced by friends and loved ones.”
Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, says, “There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said. Parents and churches are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church. We can take some solace in the fact that many do eventually return. But, Christian parents and churches need to ask the hard question, ‘What is it about our faith commitment that does not find root in the lives of our children?’”
What do you think? What’s the answer to the drop out question?