Why Young People Leave the Church—and Why They Stay
JOHN STONESTREET WITH SHANE MORRIS
You know what I’m happy to leave behind in the 2010s? The headlines about how Millennials are killing everything. “Millennials are killing mayonnaise,” “Millennials are killing golf,” and “Millennials are killing real estate because they spend all their money on avocado toast.” Those are real headlines.
Sadly, there’s at least one Millennial-related headline we can’t leave in the last decade: Millennials are killing churches.
According to Pew Research, four in ten Americans between the ages of 23 and 38 now say they are religiously unaffiliated. This is the biggest drop in religiosity between generations ever recorded.
While part of the hemorrhaging is explained by the forty-year decline in mainline Protestant bodies, evangelicals are not off the hook. We cannot say that conservative theology, in and of itself, is enough to shrink-proof your church. The Southern Baptist Convention, for example, America’s largest evangelical denomination, just hit a 30-year membership low.
Young people have left evangelical churches and are still leaving, and new data can fix some of our wrong thinking about it.