You can’t spin this…

No-spin"LifeWay Research data has placed the dropout number (of young adults) at 70 percent. But this number is not as definite as it sounds. It is not as if 70 percent of all young adults vanish in some kind of reverse rapture. More specifically, 70 percent of young adults who were active for at least one year in high school drop out for at least one year between 18-22. Half of those who leave stay gone. But then, half of those who leave return. Among evangelical churches, the number of dropouts is also lower."

Dave Kinnaman (author of You Lost Me, which claims the number of dropouts to be over 60% recently wrote: "The significant spiritual and technological changes over the last 50 years make the dropout problem more urgent. Young people are dropping out earlier, staying away longer, and if they come back are less likely to see the church as a long-term part of their life. Today's young adults who drop out of faith are continuing something the Boomers began as a generation of spiritual free agents. Yet, today's dropout phenomenon is a more intractable, complex problem."

And friends…these are "evangelicals"…among "mainlines", only 2% of the nation's young adult population attend some sort of mainline church…there is a measurable difference in the number of young adults who walk away from more "traditionally" positioned ecclesiastical bodies.  

No matter how you spin it, something needs to be addressed.  We're not talking JUST programs, etc.  This is an issue more of substance than style…as many of the people I know have been saying for a LONG time now, the issue has more to do with what happens in the home than what happens in the church building.  You can check out Sticky Faith or Christian Smith's landmark prophetic call for reexamining our youth ministry results (in the book Soul Searching)…see what they have to say and you'll agree…

To address the trend, we need parents and faith communities to get "serious" about equipping students to live their faith and share their lives from a God-centered worldview.  Read THIS POST in which a young adult shares some of their perceptions of "religion" and organized church.  Look, no easy answers here…this is not about coming up with the next "best" way to "keep our kids" locked into our churches…the issue is broader and needs considerable conversation, prayer and a re-load of a new sense of purpose in building young disciples.  I'm trying to have those conversations… 


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