70% of high schoolers quit church

February 15, 2008

Some leaders in ethnic Asian American churches have voiced concern over the attrition rate of 2nd generation Asian Americans; there’s this sense that a large percentage of active youth group members stop going to church during their college years. This perspective of what’s happening among their counterparts in mainstream America may be informative. Leadership Journal (Fall 2007) cited in their article, Why Many Young Adults Quit:
One in four young Protestants has walked away from the church
, the following survey results::

Lifeway Research (Southern Baptist) says they know the reasons why 70 percent of 18-year-olds who attended church regularly in high school quit by age 23: they don’t like it. And by age 30, 34 percent still have not rebounded. That means one in four young Protestants has left the church.

On their laundry list of reasons: they wanted a break (27%), church is too judgmental (26%), they moved away to college (25%), busy with work (23%).

On the positive side, the 30 percent who kept attending church cited solid spiritual reasons, including: “it’s vital to my relationship with God” (65%) and church “helps guide my everyday decisions” (58%).

Read the full Leadership Journal article for context and commentary. A more detailed summary of these survey results can be found at, LifeWay Research Uncovers Reasons 18 to 22 Year Olds Drop Out of Church. (In April and May 2007, LifeWay Research had conducted a survey of over 1,000 adults ages 18-30. Each indicated that they had attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year in high school.)

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