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Fact or Fiction?

I recently found an interesting study from the Barna Group discussing why young people leave church.

The research lists six significant reasons why nearly three out of every five young Christians (59%) disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15. I’m not looking to analyze The Barna Group’s research.

I realize there are many other opinions that exist on this topic but thought it would be a good starting point for discussion. Do the themes have merit? Do you find truth in them as a youth leader or as youth growing up in the church? Can we use them to understand the current generation of youth? Are the reasons to broad to be able to facilitate any concrete change?

My goal is to look at each of these reasons on their own in my next few blogs in the hopes of starting some discussion on the site and in my own parish. More understanding of where youth might be coming from never hurts and spreading the knowledge around throughout the congregation is even better!

We can’t discuss what we don’t understand so if there is some validity to the reasons in the study then the conversation with our youth workers, youth and parishes is a good one to have.

Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.

Reason #2 – Teens’ and twenty somethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.

Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.

Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.

Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.

Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.


Laura Walton

About Laura Walton

Laura Walton is part of the Youth Initiatives Team for the Anglican Church of Canada. She is the half time youth minister at All Saints', Collingwood and has a private counselling practice in the area as well. As the mom of 2 teenagers, a Preacher's Kid, and long time volunteer in the Diocese of Toronto Laura has worked in the field of youth and children's ministry on the ground floor level for many years. Laura has a love for sports, music and challenging the status quo which she brings to her work in youth and children's ministry.
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