Stand to Reason has pointed out some resources concerning the issue of youth and their departure from the church.
What percentage of Christian youth are actually leaving the church? There’s been some debate about the actual number, with some saying as little as 4% will remain Christian, while others suggest there’s virtually no exodus. Christian Smith tells us that evangelicals have been “behaving badly with statistics” and quickly dispenses with the 4% “panic-attack” stats. But can we get some idea of the percentage of youth leaving the church without being irresponsible with numbers?
These are the most recent and most cited studies that I could find:
- 88%: The Southern Baptist Convention’s Family Life Council study in 2002 (unfortunately, I can’t find the actual study and methodology)
- 70%: LifeWay Research study in 2007 (LifeWay also found only 35% eventually return)
- 66%: Assembly of God study (again, I can’t find the actual study, only references here and there)
- 61%: “Barna study in 2006 — “Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf…”