In 2013, an author named David Kinnaman wrote a book, You Lost Me, to help the church understand where Christians 18-29 have disappeared to. Although he writes of America, our beloved Sweden can certainly gain insight into our own struggles with this topic as well. Kinnaman addresses three different areas of what he calls Spiritually Homeless Youth who have chosen to leave the organized church in search of more/something else. 70-80% of the students 18-29 leave the church, most not planning to do so…it just happened. There are three groups that the spiritually homeless youth are divided into: Nomads, Prodigals, and Exiles.
Nomads are those who have chosen to leave the church, still living as Christians, yet not connecting to any Christian fellowship. No church, home-group nor even Christian friends are necessary for Nomads. Faith and Religion are not important to them currently. Mainly, they would say that they simply do not fit in to church.
Prodigals are those who would say that they have lost their faith choosing to be no longer Christian. They would say they have had negative experiences in church, that Christian values don’t make sense, and that Christianity cannot meet their own spiritual needs.
Exiles are Christians who are still invested in their faith, yet feel stuck between the culture and the church. They want to connect with the culture they live in as well as live out their belief, without separating the world and the church. They see that God is at work outside of the church and desperately want an expression of the church to be there as well.
Where YA and Mosaik can focus energy is by looking to the Exiles, those who are exerting, striving, and daring to believe day in and day out in order that others might find a place in God’s care. Their worship spaces might not be in the traditional church building, yet more importantly, Jesus Christ will be known in places where it really counts!
What can we do to help stop this?*
1. Disciple, disciple, disciple. If your student ministry is a four-year holding tank with pizza, don’t expect young adults to stick around. If, however, they see biblical teaching as relevant and see the church as essential to their decisions, they stay.
2. Have a home with committed Christian parents. According to the USC study I referenced earlier, 74% of married couples who were both evangelicals also had kids who were evangelical. I was raised by a single mom who loved the Lord and I’m so thankful for those who do, but parents (together) make a significant statistical impact.
3. Recognize that it takes a church to raise a committed young adult—involve other adults in the discipleship process. This is where student pastors, volunteers, and other adults being invested in the lives of teenagers can be so important.
For more info on how to encourage or start a Mosaik or Young Adult group, please Contact us!
Peace in Christ,