Young People Are Leaving the Faith—What Can Parents and Pastors Do?
New Louisiana Event from Dr. Alex McFarland Aims to Provide Young Christians with the Tools to Keep the Faith All Throughout Life
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Many parents and youth pastors worry that young people may stray from their faith in Jesus and leave their commitment to church as they get older.
Their worries are not unfounded. There’s data to back it up.
For more than two decades, religion and culture expert, national radio host and author Dr. Alex McFarland has given young people reasons to keep the faith, helping them to cling to Christ throughout life and to strengthen their zeal for the Lord.
McFarland’s upcoming two-day Truth for a New Generation (TNG) conference near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, later this month will help students, parents, youth pastors and community members to lift up this young generation, pray for them and empower them to stand strong in their faith.
“For more than two decades, it’s been the goal of Truth for a New Generation to help Christians, especially young believers, know how to talk about their faith in Christ and share it with others, particularly in a culture where more and more young people are abandoning their beliefs, leaving church behind or even adopting atheist views,” McFarland said. “We pray the upcoming event near Baton Rouge will help this generation realize that God has a plan for their lives, and He wants to see it fulfilled for His glory.”
Faith investigator and best-selling author J. Warner Wallace, who has been a guest speaker at several of McFarland’s Truth for a New Generation events, summarized the facts about young people leaving the faith on his Cold-Case Christianity website:
- From the book, “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers” by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist: The majority of teenagers are incredibly inarticulate about their faith, religious beliefs and practices, and its place in their lives, Wallace wrote.
- “The State of Theology” study from Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research asked self-professing Christians to respond to a series of statements related to Christian doctrine. “In every answer offered related to these theological beliefs, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 consistently held heretical views at a higher percentage than older respondents,” Wallace reported. “Young people who identify themselves as Christians are far more likely to hold views that aren’t Christian.”
- The book “Why Christian Kids Leave the Faith” by Tom Bisset asked young people when, why and how they abandoned their faith and identified four prominent reasons: 1) because they had troubling, unanswered questions about the faith; 2) because their faith was not “working” for them; 3) because they allowed other things to take priority; 4) because they never personally owned their faith.
- A 2006 Barna study titled “Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf…” found that a majority of 20-somethings—61 percent of young adults—had been churched at one point during their teen years but are now spiritually disengaged.
- While many of the sources Wallace cites affirm that young people do leave the faith somewhere between middle school and college graduation, perhaps the most alarming is that finding from the 2009 book “The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church”—90 percent of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores in college.
Set for Oct. 26-27 at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, 19421 Greenwell Springs Road in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, Truth for a New Generation with Dr. Alex McFarland will give young believers the tools, knowledge and confidence to stand up for their faith in all areas of life.
Joining McFarland in Baton Rouge will be national radio host and author Michael Brown, Church For All Nations senior pastor Mark Cowart, American Family Association host Meeke Addison and “Counter Culture Mom” Tina Marie Griffin, along with Ryan Bomberger, speaker, journalist and “factivist;” Daniel Ritchie, speaker and author of “My Affliction For His Glory;” Brett Kunkle, speaker, author and founder of MAVEN; Dr. Chris Gnanakan, professor of theology at Liberty University; and Juan Valdes, apologist and theologian. A concert with hip hop artist Tedashii is also planned for Friday evening. For information or to register, click here.
Truth for a New Generation is sponsored by Liberty University, Compassion International, NRBTV, Sound Radio, Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine, the American Family Association and American Family Radio. Church partners are Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, Fellowship Baptist Churchand Live Oak Baptist Church.
View the media page for Alex McFarland here. For more information on Dr. Alex McFarland, visit www.AlexMcFarland.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @AlexMcFarland.
For more information on TNG or to interview Dr. Alex McFarland, contact Deborah Hamilton, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Jeff Tolson, ext. 108.