Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ESSENTIAL CHURCH (1)



Thom Rainer and his son Sam have written a landmark book on why so many teenagers and young adults are dropping out of church. Their book is called Essential Church: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts. This is one of those books every church member should read if we are interested in trying to reach the emerging the generation and keep young adults in church.

I'll probably do several blogs from the book. I'm not finished reading it yet; but I'm telling you it is loaded with eye openers. Here is the disheartening fact that serves as the basis for the Rainers' book: 70 percent of churchgoing young adults drop out of church between the ages of 18 and 22.

What are the main reasons they are dropping out. Here are the top ten.

  • Simply wanted a break from church

  • Church members seemed judgmental or hypocritical

  • Moved to college and stopped attending

  • Work responsibilities prevented them from attending

  • Moved too far away from the church to continue attending

  • Became too busy thought still wanted to attend

  • Didn't feel connected to people in the church

  • Disagreed with the church's stance on political or soical issues

  • Chose to spend more time with friends outside the church

  • Was only going to church to please others

In a capsule, all these reasons funnel into one primary issue: they did not see the church as essential to their lives. Hence, the title--The Essential Church. Can the trend be stopped? The answer is yes. Some churches have been successful keeping young adults engaged. The key question that must be answered is: How can the church become essential to this emerging population? More to come later.



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