In 2013 Thom & Joani Schultz, the founders of Group Publishing, wrote the book, “Why Nobody Wants to go to Church Anymore.” In the book, Schultz likened the church to Kodak Photography Company, which held on to the patent for digital photography but failed to utilize it, for fear it would replace their very profitable film photography division. Ultimately, they lost out to the new technology when other companies picked up the ball and ran with it. The point is that the world is changing, and the church needs to adapt.
What Thom & Joani Schultz discovered is that there are four reasons why people don’t want to go to church anymore.
- I FEEL JUDGED. According to their research, 87% of Americans label churches as judgmental. The reality is that many church folks would not approve of the lifestyle of most young people today. Young adults and youth may be so distanced culturally from the older generation that they may not know specifically for what they are being judged, but they sense it.
- I DON’T WANT TO BE LECTURED. When a pastor preaches a message with which you agree, it can be motivating and inspiring. But when the message reflects a different set of values from which you can identify, it can sound like a scolding. When people have differing points of view, they like to discuss and interact on the subject, not be lectured. Unfortunately, the classic church service features what a newcomer might identify as a lecture. We need to create more relational inroads into the Christian faith.
- CHURCH PEOPLE ARE A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES. Eighty-five percent of people surveyed made this claim: Church people act as if they have all the answers. They perceive the church to be a place that insists on an impossible standard, which they fail to follow. It is along with the Apostle Paul, that we must acknowledge, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). They are sinners, but so are we.
- YOUR GOD IS IRRELEVANT TO MY LIFE. Most young people don’t experience God in a typical service. It is foreign to them. Many worship practices are listed in a bulletin and the terminology used seems alien. Youth are spiritually hungry, but they need people to reach out to them, where they are at and dive into a conversation that includes give and take, both sharing and listening.
In short, there are several key reasons why young people don’t want to go to church anymore. For starters, most of their parents and families do not attend, and their perceptions are mostly negative. At Rock Solid Teen Center, we accept young people where they are at in their lives. We don’t lecture them but talk to them one-on-one. We acknowledge that we are far from perfect and have fallen short of God’s standards. And we are fully convinced that our God, not as some would falsely portray Him to be, is completely relevant to your daily life, and you just need to get to know Him.