A new study released two weeks ago by the Barna Group shows that the loss of
faith or rejection of church that many young people experience, is not
taking place for the reasons that we often assume. The research, which
coincides with the release of You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are
Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith, uncovered what the author describes
as five myths and realities about today’s young dropouts. For example,
the first myth that is highlighted is that “Most people lose their faith
when they leave high school.” But according to the researchers, “there
are three distinct patterns of loss: prodigals, nomads, and exiles.”
They explain that:
One out of nine young people (prodigals) who grow up in Christian homes lose their faith in Christianity.
Four out of ten young Christians (nomads) wander away from the
institutional church, but still call themselves Christians. They have
become “lost” to church participation.
Two out of ten young Christians (exiles) feel lost between the "church culture" and the society they feel called to influence.
About three out of ten young people who grow up with a Christian
background stay faithful to church and to faith throughout their
transitions from the teen years through their twenties.