Friday, December 3, 2010
Why do young men leave the church?
Recently there have been some news articles lamenting or merely documenting how Christianity does not retain young adults, they leave the church and Christianity behind once they graduate from their youth group. They are called "Leavers". The news pundits are mystified as to the reason.
David Murrow, John Eldredge, Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble and a host of others have identified the reason. Of course the mainstream church and media ignore them. Below is my brief summary of the problem.
The majority of "leavers" are young men. Christianity has been the purview of old men and women for over 100 years. There is no challenge, no battle, no transcendent cause, no reason to get excited. We (males) are told to be nice, don't upset anyone, turn the other cheek, show love at all times, suppress your God-given maleness and become like a female; testosterone is bad, estrogen is good. The vision of a glorious future in a restored kingdom has been stolen with images of puffy cherubs on clouds strumming harps and eternal singing. I don't know many men who are interested in that future.
The Christian church used to be about small bands of brothers coming together to fight for a common cause, to save the world against impossible odds, to spur one another on to true love and good works, to lay one's life down for his friends. Proverbs says, "As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another." It sounds to me like some sparks might fly from that type of activity. It is not genteel.
Sadly, now Christianity has become about a being saved by a wonderful, beautiful, gentle, kind man who wants to embrace you, who is altogether lovely, who is to be adored, and is the lover of my soul. I don't know about you, but I'm not looking for a romantic relationship with a wonderful man.
No wonder young men leave when they mature. They want to be men!
I want a leader I can trust, someone I know will always be there to encourage, and someone who will never fail. I want someone who knows the way to true life, victory and liberty and knows how to lead others on the same journey. That man, I'll follow. And I bet that the young "leavers" would return in droves if that is what they saw in Christianity.