I have read mean different blog posts and articles all trying to explain why students and young people leave the church. Honestly they all have a point, but they all seem to miss all the simple reasons we as students leave the church.
I myself have not “left the church” pre-say, but I have thought about it. All of my teen years I have heard people say we need to do this to keep our kids in church or you have to do this. Yes, some teens are really into certain music and most of the concerts we go to have the crazy lights, but we go their for the songs and the singer not the light show. If a church goes in this direction it will loose the older group and even some of the younger generation. Yes, the reason churches loose the young is because they didn’t have them in the first place and yes, God is the only one who truly know their hearts, but God is also still the only one who truly knows their hearts.
The loss of teens in the church does have some to do with the lack of connection, but not with God. A teen doesn’t want to say in church if they don’t feel needed. They don’t want to stay in church if they are treated like what they have to say mean nothing. Why would I want to stay in church if I can be treated like an equal outside the church, get encouragement outside the church, and more love outside the church. I’m not saying Christian teens are leaving God for the world. I’m not even saying they are leaving God. Has anyone asked the teens if they still believe in God or do we all just assume because they don’t go to church that they don’t believe in God any more? Teens need a place they feel they are being excepted for who they are and some find that outside the walls of a church. You can live in the world without the church and still have a strong relationship with God.
The next reason a teen would leave the church is because they aren’t getting anything new from church. Stop preaching the same things over and over. Teach us something we can use in the real world. What we think when all you are preaching is the same thing is why do I need to come to church if I could learn more reading my bible on my own? Teens who grow up in the church feel like they have heard it all. We want to grow closer to God and we want to tell our friend about the saving grace of Jesus and we want to feel like we matter. Lights and loud music is not going to help with any of that. Continually telling us we need to read our bible is not going to do any of that. If you tell us to read our bible to grow closer to God than we found our answer to how we can grow. We don’t need the church if that is all you are going to tell us.
I almost left the church for both of these reasons. If I wasn’t leaning anything new and I had no one my age that cared about me in the church. The music was getting louder and the church was getting bigger. That only pushed me further from where everyone was trying to get me to go. I was finding little reason to stay in church. I have better things to do with my time then try to be my self in a place that was telling me to be different yet not telling my how to be the same. Not telling me how to relate to the kid around me only how to tell them about God. Telling me God loved me and cares about me. I know all that tell me something I don’t know.
The church preaches tell others about God, help your church grow, bring your friends to church, this is what we have to do to keep our teens and these are all the same things we told you last week. Why would I bring my friend into a place I don’t feel welcome? Why would I bring my friends to a place they would see as the something as a concert? The church is about God. Church is about the love of God. Church is about the saving grace of Jesus. Yes, this is what the church stands for, but it needs to be so much more. It needs to be a place where we do more then just intrudes ourselves to the new people once. It needs to be be a place that cares less about how we can grow bigger and more on how we can make our people strong in their faith. It needs to be a place that teens can feel excepted by their peers.
Churches you are not the ones driving away the next generation. It’s the next generation that is driving them away. Teach your teens how to connect. Teach your teens that their is something new to be learned. Teach your teens what being friendly is. Show them they are a part of the church. Show them that all the nicest people are not outside the church. All we want is to be looked at as if our voices matters and learn something new every once in awhile is that really to much to ask for?