Do our Churches have a version of Rumspringa?
I just read this article from LifeWay. It's a survey of young Americans. It refers to the fact the 70% of American church-goers, aged 18-22, simply stop going to church for a year or more. They leave their home town (say, they come to NYC!) and simply don't connect with a new community in which to be accountable. Go ahead and read the article. There are lots of reasons they give as to why they stop contributing. And many apparently come back.
Here in NYC, it rings true. The Christian Groups on campus (while top-notch) are comparatively small. I meet young people all the time who are not really connected into a community that functions in a healthy way with strong accountability. They sometime go to several churches for different personal-preference reasons ("I go here for the 'worship' , there for the 'teaching', and I drop in to another church for the 'community' " etc.) And many don't go anywhere, except sheepishly when they go home for breaks.
In three weeks time (when the new school year begins) my community, Christ Church NYC, will meet many of the students who will be confronted with this choice.
Some questions you could help me with:
1. What do you make of the survey and the thoughts contained within?
2. Can we do anything about it?
3. (For my Australian friends: What are the differences, do you think, between the continents?)
4. What is a compelling vision for this age group?
Here is a quote:
Stetzer noted, "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?’"h/t Justin.
Pic by niznoz