The whole thing is just pitch-perfect, and I want to just quote the whole thing completely. But instead I'll just pick my favorite three of the ten reasons he gives that youth leave the church (it was tough to pick only three!):
10. The Church is "Relevant."
You didn’t misread that, I didn’t say irrelevant, I said RELEVANT.
We’ve taken a historic, 2,000-year-old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize to.
As the quote says, “When the ship is in the ocean, everything’s fine. When the ocean gets into the ship, you’re in trouble.”
I’m not ranting about “worldliness” as some pietistic bogeyman, I’m talking about the fact that we yawn at a five-minute biblical text, but almost trip over ourselves fawning over a minor celebrity or athlete who makes any vague reference to being a Christian.
We’re like a fawning wanna-be just hoping the world will think we’re cool too, you know, just like you guys!
Our kids meet the real world and our “look, we’re cool like you” posing is mocked. In our effort to be “like them” we’ve become less of who we actually are. The middle-aged pastor trying to look like his 20-something audience isn’t relevant and the minute you aim to be “authentic,” you’re no longer authentic!
7. You sent them out unarmed.
Let’s just be honest, most of our churches are sending youth into the world embarrassingly ignorant of our faith. How could we not?
We’ve jettisoned catechesis, sold them on “deeds not creeds,” and encouraged them to start the quest to find “God’s plan for their life.”
Yes, I know your church has a “What we believe” page, but is that actually being taught and reinforced from the pulpit? I’ve met evangelical church leaders (“Pastors”) who didn’t know the difference between justification and sanctification. I’ve met large church board members who didn’t understand the atonement. When we choose leaders based upon their ability to draw and lead rather than to accurately teach the faith, well, they don’t teach the faith.
6. You gave them hand-me-downs.
You’ve tried your best to pass along the internal/subjective faith that you “feel.” You really, really, really want them to “feel” it too.
But we’ve never been called to evangelize our feelings. You can’t hand down this type of subjective faith.
With nothing solid to hang their faith upon, with no historic creed to tie them to centuries of history, without the physical elements of bread, wine and water, their faith is in their subjective feelings, and when faced with other ways to “feel” uplifted at college, the church loses out to things with much greater appeal to our human nature.
But #9 and #1 nearly made my list too. :) You'll have to read the whole thing to see them!