While we may or may not always agree with the conclusions drawn by George Barna on the research his firm collects, it is none the less always a fascinating look at the trends and directions of Christianity in America.  Barna’s “2011 trends” we covered today are disturbing on several fronts. Kids from a church youth group were sliding do...

Today we’re talking about trends in the Church, particularly why young millennials are leaving their faith.

First, the fact that a majority of Christians in America struggle with how to fit Christianity into their lifestyles instead of looking at how we fit our lives into Christianity is alarming.  It points to the narcissistic attitude of many Americans these days.  To think that we need to conform the Word of God to our lives is the height of arrogance.  Jesus clearly taught us to abandon the ways of this world, not see how we could squeeze his teachings into our preferred lifestyle.

Second, the reasons young Christians give for abandoning the faith are deeply saddening.  The statement that “84% of young Christians have no idea how Christianity applies to their professional interests” is a sad testimony as to how we have prepared these young Christians for life.  Again, it has come down to how much of God I can squeeze into my life’s aspirations instead of learning how my profession and life can conform to a life committed to Jesus Christ.  It makes you wonder just what we’ve been teaching our youth in youth group all these years.

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The youth go on to state that their experience with Christianity has been shallow and the church has been too black and white on issues of sexuality, science and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life.  Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but he is the only way to eternal life.  But apparently, we have done a poor job of teaching our youth how to embrace the truth of the Bible.  We obviously need to invest more time into helping our youth learn the character and nature of God and explaining the story of creation, man’s fall and his redemption through Jesus Christ alone.

And last, the alarming lack of spiritual growth and maturity in those who call themselves Christians does not bode well for Christianity in America.  When only one-fifth acknowledge a total dependence on God, we are headed in the wrong direction as a church.  When only one in six profess a commitment to engaging in meaningful spiritual growth it is obvious we are headed down a very ominous path.

As usual, what we do with this information is our choice.  We can continue to stick our heads in the sand hoping things will change; or we can admit our failures as Christian leaders and commit ourselves to reversing this trend, teaching the essential truths of God’s Word.  And it begins by teaching that God does not exist for our benefit—we exist to glorify Him.  Until we truly understand that and start to teach it to Christians we lead, nothing will change.