There has been a lot written lately about what is going on with our students and why are they leaving the church in record numbers after they graduate from college. It seems to me that this is a problem that has been around forever, or at least since I graduated from high school. (Back when Pearl Jam was King!)
What would it look like if we quit wringing our hands about this awful statistic and accepted this as reality.
Everything I have read says that part of the adolescent journey is separating their identity from their family and faith of origin and develop an independent identity. This process of individuation is understanding who they are, where they belong, and if they matter. And these questions can not be done under the thumb of their parents, or their parent’s youth pastor.
So, If 70% to 90% of my students are going to push back from the faith of their childhood during late adolescence, then what is my response going to be?
It seems like blaming the church, youth ministry, the culture, whatever doesn’t move this conversation forward. Maybe there needs to be a different framing question to move this conversation forward. Instead of asking, “Why are so many students leaving the church?” Maybe a better question is, “Why are so few students returning to the church after they become adults?”