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Why Do So Many Teens Leave Christianity As Adults?

This is a conversation that I’ve had many times and you probably have too. Why do so many of our kids that grew up in church leave Christianity when they become adults?

It is said that many teenagers leave the church when they become adults. This is no doubt shocking and sad.

Well, the bible does foretell us of a great falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (I’m not sure if that’s what’s going on or not) but if it is, it is alarming to see it happening right before our very eyes.

It makes you wonder (if this is prophecy) if there is nothing we can do about it. Is it just inevitable that so many people will quote-unquote “fall away”?

I was sitting in church this morning and I started writing all kinds of thoughts on my order of worship.

This is something that has been on my heart for a while but I never thought to turn it into a blog post until now.

It didn’t occur to me that other people, especially parents of adult children who have denounced their faith, ae looking for answers to the question: Why are so many young people leaving the church?


While I’m sure that there are a whole host of reasons, I came down to really one main reason. But let me back up and say that part of the issue is this: we are asking the wrong question many times.

We will often say, why are so many people leaving the church. Meaning why don’t they walk through the doors of a church building on Sunday morning anymore?

But is this truly the issue? I personally don’t think so. I believe church attendance is important, yes but we are called to be followers of Christ and not church attenders.

The true problem is that they don’t have a relationship with Jesus. I mean like a real, authentic,  sometimes tumultuous, sometimes a roller coaster of a ride relationship with their Savior.

He’s not real to them. 

When you don’t have a real relationship with Jesus, one as real as the one you have with a family member or friend, then leaving a nameless, faceless church (because we often view church as a building and not the people) is far too easy.

We as older Christians, have to let younger people know what it actually means to have a relationship with Jesus.


We have to be willing to tell them that it won’t always be sunshine and roses. We have to tell them that there will be ups and downs.

And personally, I’m not talking about just the normal ups and downs of life. I’m talking about ups and downs in my actual relationships with God.

Meaning, I don’t understand how he works. Meaning I have issues with the suffering that goes on in the world and I wonder why He doesn’t stop it all.

I’ve gotten angry sometimes about things that I have happened in my life. I sometimes have blamed God and been angry with Him and not been on speaking terms with Him.

When I went to college I started believing that all Christians were hypocrites. I was might near agnostic.

I still went to church but I was extremely skeptical of faith, God, and Christianity as a whole.


But fortunately, God wouldn’t let me go and guess what? I didn’t let Him go either. Because even though our relationship was rocky (to put it mildly), He was (and is) too real to me to just let go.

Our relationship was too real for me to just give up.

You see, when God is a mere acquaintance, it’s easy to walk away.

When He’s just someone you wave at every now and then to say hi, it’s easy to let go. 

That’s why our relationship with God and with Christ is supposed to be like a marriage (2 Corinthians 11:2). He’s someone you’ve loved, eaten with, talked with, planned with, wrestled with, and dreamed with. 

When you’re relationship with God is like that you can’t just walk away.

It should be so that when you do feel like walking away from God it’s like a spiritual divorce where your heart is all but torn apart.

I fear that for too many people walking away from God is more like unfriending someone on Facebook.

Of course, I don’t know if this is true and I would hate to mischaracterize anyone’s experience. Maybe the people who grew up in church but are no longer believers wrestled with their decision.

Maybe it was heart-wrenching.

I don’t know what the decision was like for each individual person.  I don’t want to assume that I know the level of emotional pain involved in each person’s decision to leave their faith.

What I do know is that young people leaving the church is not the problem but a symptom of the problem and it won’t ever be fixed if this is not acknowledged. 


Have you left your faith? What was the experience like for you? Do you feel like you ever knew God or did you feel like you were going through the motions?

Did you go to church because your parents made you? What was it that made you lose your faith?

Or did you lose your faith? We often think that not coming to church equates to losing your faith in Jesus. 

But that too is not always the case and is only an assumption. Feel free to let us know in the comments. This is a judgment-free zone. 






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Nicky Johnson is the owner and creator of Healthy As You Can (HAYC) and Christian Blogging Academy (CBA). She is also an author and certified life coach. She started this blog to help support other Christians who want to live a healthy and natural lifestyle but don't know where to start because it can be oh so confusing. She's still trying to figure it all out and as she does, she'll let you know!

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Nicky Johnson is the owner and creator of Healthy As You Can (HAYC) and Christian Blogging Academy (CBA). She is also an author and certified life coach. She started this blog to help support other Christians who want to live a healthy and natural lifestyle but don't know where to start because it can be oh so confusing. She's still trying to figure it all out and as she does, she'll let you know!

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Melissa @myhillsandvalleys - 06/17/2020 Reply

Sometimes people lose their faith in God because their faith in humanity was destroyed. That breaks my heart. On the flip side, I know people who have left the church, not because of God, but because of people.

I was taught not to stop going to church based on this verse in Hebrews 10:25 which says “Do not forsake the assembly of believers.” My best friend and her husband left the church, not because of their lack of faith in God, but because of people in the church. This happens all to often, unfortunately. I used to tell her she had to go to church but I’ve learned that you don’t need church to worship God, have a relationship with God or commune with believers. That being said, I personally love being part of the church! I love meeting new people, hearing the message, being part of the community, joining bible study groups, worship, volunteering my time to ministry. I truly do, enjoy it. Yes, people in the church will surprise you at times, but it’s important to remember, we are all sinners saved by the grace of God.

Sorry, I had a lot to comment 🙂 Great post!

    Nicky - 06/19/2020 Reply

    Hey Melissa,

    I appreciate your comments because you’re right the bible tells us not to forsake the assembly of believers and this is an important reminder that you’ve shared! It’s super easy to stop going but it doesn’t always mean that you faith in God has changed. But it can be harder to keep your faith in God strong if you don’t have Godly influences around you which is probably why the bible included this verse (among many other reasons I’m sure). Thanks for your insights!

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