Influence

 the shape of leadership

Most Church Youth Drop Out as Young Adults

Survey shows two-thirds leave from ages 18 to 22

Influence Magazine on January 18, 2019

Most teenagers attending church will drop out as young adults, a new survey from LifeWay Research suggests.

Two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as teens stopped attending for at least a year from the age of 18 to 22.

Most of the dropouts, who were aged 23 to 30 at the time of the survey, had not returned to church. Among those who left church for at least a year, just 31 percent said they currently attend services twice a month or more.

Predictably, the transition to college was the top reason young adults gave for leaving church (34 percent). However, others pointed to a feeling that parishioners were hypocritical or judgmental (32 percent); a sense of disconnection with people in church (29 percent); or disagreement with the church’s stance on political or social issues (25 percent).

Though 29 percent said they had planned their departure while in high school, most (71 percent) said the shift away from church was unexpected.

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