According to the Barna studies there are at least five myths about the youth who abandon Church and faith.
First, it is a myth children lose their faith after leaving high school. The youth are more likely to say they have not abandoned their faith; they are more likely to say they have only dropped out of Church. I attended a conference in which some of these youth spoke, and I can tell you their description of faith is not the Biblical description of faith. Separated from the Bible and Christian fellowship, the Biblical understanding of faith and Christianity will suffer.
Secondly, it is a myth to think it is natural for young people to dropout during the teens and early twenties…the studies show this is not proving to be true. They are dropping out more often and sooner than previous generations.
Thirdly, It is a myth College experiences are the key reason the youth abandon Church and faith. In fact, the youth emotionally abandon their Church and faith before the age of 16. Barna found it was a “shallow faith” issue. The youth have not been challenged and taught to think deeply about faith, and few have adult mentors to guide them through the hard questions which expose the tensions between faith and real life.
Fourth, it is a myth Christian children have less Biblical knowledge than their parents. It is my impression parents and children are struggling equally with answers to faith and life issues.
Fifth, it is a myth the youth will come back to Church after marriage and children. First they are marrying much later and they are also having children much later. Should the trend turn and they do return; they will be much older with varying degrees of Biblical knowledge and loyalty to the Church and Christianity. [These observations have been compiled from the Barna study “Five Myths about Young Adult Church Dropouts”]
 Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each update on the latest research findings from Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website (www.barna.org).
Published on Saturday, September 13, 2014 @ 4:46 AM CDT