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article imageOp-Ed: Why are so many young adults losing their religion?

By Timothy Whitt     Jun 10, 2013 in World
There seems to be a rapid increase in the number of young adults, or Millenials as they are sometimes called, who are not affiliated with any church.
There is a current Exodus happening in churches across America as many young adults fail to follow in their parent's faithful footsteps and instead turn their back on the church.
According to the Barna Group, a national research organization specializing in religious surveys, more than 50 percent of 18-29 year olds with a Christian background say they are less active in church compared to when they were 15.
David Kinnaman, the president of the Barna Group, divides the so called “Millennials” into having three different spiritual journeys, which he calls the, “nomads,” “prodigals” and “exiles.”
The nomads are those young adults who, “see themselves as personally interested in God and religion, but not in a formal or institutional expression of that faith.” Nomads are the young adults who have become disenchanted with organized religion, but still would declare their faithfulness to Jesus.
There are many reasons young adults become “nomads,” such as doctrinal issues with the church, not being able to have God their way or not finding instant gratification. Nomads would be the first to claim, “I love the Body but I hate the church,” in order to justify separating from the church.
The next group the Barna Poll mentions are the “prodigals.” Unlike the nomads, the prodigals are young adults who once claimed to have a personal faith but who no longer want anything to do with Christianity. Prodigals are those young adults who have had a bad experience in church which have left them with a less then ideal view of what it truly means to be a Christian.
Prodigals, like Kevin, have turned away from church because he was tired of, “people trying to force their views down my throat.” Prodigals are the least likely to return to church because of their bad experiences with what they feel is disorganized religion.
The last group mentioned in the Barna Poll are the Exiles. These are the young adults who are dissatisfied with the church to which they belong but decide to stay where they are. Exiles feel lost somewhere between their commitments to the church and their desire to influence the world around them.
Exiles like to combine their love for church with their love for life. While all three embrace technology, exiles seem to revel in using it more and love to integrate it into their church experience.
While the Barna Group Poll offers some insight into why young adults are making an exodus from organized religion it still falls short of giving a definitive answer. There are still groups of church going “Millenials” who do not fall into any of the three categories.
Whatever the reason the “Millenials” are leaving, it appears the church will need to re-evaluate how they gear their doctrine in order to stem the mass exodus of young adults from the church.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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