Young Adults- Why do they leave, anyway? —  September 12, 2012
Generation called Mosaics

Why do they leave, anyway?

Lets review: There are three types that leave:

Three types of Mosaics that leave the church

1. Nomads- They are ok with Christ but disconnected from church. They see Christianity as optional. For many, they graduated from High School or college and graduated from church as well. They may sporadically attend, especially when they visit home. They are not angry at church. 2 out of 5 Mosaics, fit this category.

2. Prodigals- they don’t consider themselves Christian’s any longer. They are deeply hurt by church or life’s circumstances. Remember, behind every heresy, there is a hurt. They feel bad for their parents, but that’s the extent of their regret. They are happy to have left the“perceived” constraints of the church. 1 in 9 fit this category. Although it’s the smallest group, its usually the most vocal.

3. Exiles-stuck between church and culture, like Daniel in Babylon. Don’t want to be “separate” if it means leaving their present ocupation that the church may frown upon. They are skeptical of a church that only wants to exist for itself and has little interest in making a real difference in the community. Prefer religion to be outside the walls of the church, very service oriented. See Christians as too shallow. They fail to see connection between faith and vocation. An example of these are people that are in the arts, music, Hollywood, science, military.

“Your children are going to break your heart. Somehow, somewhere. Maybe more than once. To become a parent is to promise to love prodigals” (James K.A. Smith)

Now, here are six reasons why they disconnect from church:

Six points of disconnection

1. See the church as overprotective– they had helicopter parents. They perceive church as demonizing everything that does not have the “Christian” label and afraid of the world. See a false separation. They say that church does not want to deal with complex issues and give pat answers to complex questions. 

2. Feel the church is shallow– Shallow does not mean preaching content, but practice of what is preached. They see a church that has no connection to real life, sort of like the Vegas theme “What happens in church stays in church”. 47% have no deep connections with a member in church. There is no real opportunity to lead.

3. They see the church as Anti-science– They have been taught that reason and faith are enemies and science and religion as incompatible. Church is not willing to address the tough questions.

4. They feel the church is sexually repressive– this generation has the greatest access to sex of any generation. They believe the attitude of “just say no” is not working.

Three views on sex:

a.    Traditionalism- shame strategy. Just say no. Sex is for procreation. Not spoken of in church.

b.    Individualism- it’s about me. We emphasize benefits- no diseases, better family, emotional stability, as reasons to be faithful. It’s still about me.

c.    Selflessness- sex is good, and it’s about us, with God’s blessing in the context of marriage. Thriving relationships and not sexual repression is the objective.

5. They see the church as exclusive– We live in a multicultural society. Less than ½ are white. 50 years ago, 4/5 were white. Since they are the “great agreement generation.” They value diversity and have four basic characteristics:  

a.    Agreement over disagreement.

b.    Peer responsibility over individualism.

c.    Fairness over rightness.

d.    Participation over exclusion.

6. The sense that the church is not a safe place to express doubts. “doubt is the ants in the pants of faith” Frederick Buchner. Three types of doubt:

a. Intellectual doubt

b. Institutional doubt

c. Unexpressed doubt. (the worse kind!)
It is important to remember that just because they ask questions, doesn’t mean they don’t believe.

Tomorrow- What to do now. 7 practical things you can do right away.

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