College Students Abandon Church

By Justin Johnson

Why do college students abandon church?

Lifeway research says it is because churches do not provide real answers.

“Teens are looking for more from a youth ministry than a holding tank with pizza,” (Lifeway Research)

In youth groups across America teens are being entertained, amused, partied, and gimmicked so much that they are void of any Biblical discernment. Many of them do not even understand salvation.

It should be no surprise that a large segment of these youth group alumni are ready and willing to abandon church for the bigger entertainment, bigger amusement, and bigger parties associated with college frivolity.

When these twentysomethings are faced with life’s toughest questions for the first time they begin to seek real answers.

Since the church does not supply these answers they look elsewhere. The Barna Research Group finds similar conclusions.

“Youth ministry fails too often at discipleship and faith formation…” (

The answer to a lack of ‘faith formation’ is the word of God rightly divided. Paul says,

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ” – Romans 10:17

Churches should stop treating young men and women as children that need to be entertained and start treating them as young adults who need to be grounded in the truth.

Paul teaches that young men and women are to be sober (Titus 2:4,6). It is the task of the aged men and women to teach them sound doctrine and Biblical discernment.

We don’t need more gimmicks in the church. We need the truth!

The church should teach the answers to life’s problems straightforwardly and unapologetically from the Bible rightly divided. This begins with the clear gospel of salvation.

When ”young people see the church as essential in their lives… their loyalty remains strong.” (Lifeway Research)

People need to be presented with the reality of their sin and their eternal destination before they become twentysomethings.

Pool tables grow old and emotionalism is cheap.

We need to speak the gospel of Jesus Christ to our young people with seriousness. There is no need to hide it, disguise it, or distort it.

The word of truth rightly divided is essential and it is more valuable than extra pepperoni.

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Published: August 22, 2008
Last Modified: May 4, 2016
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