Fact: Between 58% - 88% of professing Christian teens will not carry their beliefs into adult life. When asked why, most claimed “Intellectual Skepticism” was a major deciding factor.
Fact: 55% of professing Christian teens have not shared the gospel in the last year and 61% of all church attending Christians have not shared the gospel in the last 6 months.
Bottom Line: At least 60% of professing Christian teens will not maintain their beliefs and most Christians are either unwilling or unable to share the gospel with confidence and clarity.
Furthermore... In our postmodern and post-Christian culture, Christianity is not viewed as an intellectually viable option. A quick internet browse will convince you of this.
Research Related to the Flight of Young People from the Church (Adapted from J. Warner Wallace)
LifeWay Research Study
LifeWay Research and Ministry Development (2007)
Study Findings: 70% will leave the faith in college. 7 in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 – both evangelical and mainline – who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Family Life Council
Southern Baptist Council on Family Life report to Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (2002)
Study Findings: 88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18
Assemblies of God Study
Dayton A. Kingsriter (2007)
Study Findings: Between 50% and 66.7% of Assemblies of God young people who attend a non-Christian public or private university will have left the faith four years after entering college.
Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press (2005)
Book Findings: Students leave faith behind primarily because of intellectual doubt and skepticism (page 89). “Why did they fall away from the faith in which they were raised?” This was an open-ended question there were no multiple-choice answers. (“It didn’t make any sense anymore.” “Some stuff is too far-fetched for me to believe.” “I think scientifically and there is no real proof.” “Too many questions that can’t be answered.”)
The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church
Jossey-Bass, San Francisco (2009)
Book Findings: 90% of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores in college.
“Barna Study: “Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on theShelf…”
Study Findings: A majority of twenty-somethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged.
The Last Christian Generation
Josh McDowell, David H. Bellis, Green Key Books (2006)
Book Findings: 63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity. Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home.
Rethink: Is Student Ministry Working?
Steve Wright, InQuest Ministries, Inc. (2007)
Book Findings: 63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 58% believe all faiths teach equally valid truths. 51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. 65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity. 68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity
Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of EmergingAdults (2009)
Christian Smith, Patricia Snell (2009)
Book Findings: Among American adults, emerging adults are significantly less religious. No more than 15% of the total emerging adult population, embrace a strong religious faith.
“Spirituality in Higher Education”: The Higher Education ResearchInstitute at UCLA
Alexander W. Astin, Helen S. Astin, and Jennifer A. Lindholm (2010)
Study Findings: 52% of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college but only 29% continued frequent church attendance by their junior year.