Why are Canadian young people leaving the church? James Penner has written a report exploring this question. You can read about it at
But bear in mind some issues as your read:
- Walking away from the (institutional) church is not synonymous with walking away from God.
- Young people in the church are not only ministered to by others, but also ministers to other.
- Doctrines do change over time – the medium and the message can change. It faith is a living thing, then it changes over time.
- Penner says that “If you leave the community, you leave the conversation, and worldview hangs on the thread of conversation. Young people start to doubt there is a God if they are no longer part of a community where that view is reinforced.” But doubt is a healthy and vital part of living, active faith. It’s okay for young people—and all people—to express and wrestle with doubt.
While the article is interesting, it’s also riddled with some views and assumptions about young people, church, and faith that I don’t share and you may not share either. So read it with a critical eye, looking for how it can help you do ministry with young people—but remember that the author is speaking from a particular context and theological tradition that you may or may not hold in common.