Christian youth leaders across the United States know anecdotally that most teenagers will drop out of church when they become young adults, but a new study by Lifeway Research confirms this unfortunate truth.
According to the study, 66 percent of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly – at least for a year as a teenager – say they also stopped attending for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.
Dr. Alex McFarland, who has led teen apologetic conferences for decades, explained more on the matter to OneNewsNow.
"Graduation from high school is often graduation from God, and they walk away from church," McFarland informed.
McFarland also asserted that Christians must teach students to think iblically and live their lives through a Christian worldview.
"We have to show people that being a part of a church – even when I move away to go to college – [and] staying in the local church is part of a Christian worldview," the evangelical leader stressed.
But McFarland suggests that a corner might have already been turned, as he pointed to a similar study in 2007 that had shown that 70 percent of 18–22-year-olds left the church for at least a year.
"Maybe the attrition rate has flattened, and we're going to turn it around, but I think a big part of it was admitting that we have a problem that youth ministry has got to be more than pizza, paintball and Pepsi."
He also maintained that while believers have freedom in Christ, this does not mean that they are lone rangers who are unaccountable to a local church.