I grew up hearing the sermon statistic that 60% of Christian young adults will leave the church after they graduate college, but I never thought I’d be a part of that number until one day I woke up in college and was.
Growing up as a ministry person’s kid (no fun acronym or support group like for Missionary Kids or Pastor’s Kids sadly), my relationship with the church was often a rocky road during high school, peppered by painful experiences with people who were unkind and theology that was untrue. It was a really dramatic, raw time in my life and unfortunately the church situation never got better.
I left for college with an internal suitcase packed with cynicism and anger towards the church, which admittedly was strange baggage to bring to a Christian, mandatory chapel-ed college. Not the Church aka the body of Christ, I would clarify to my friends in college, but the organization of church. Lowercase “c.” I didn’t figure I was leaving the church when technically, it left me first. In college, I made little to no effort to try to find church again.
Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, grace continues to abound in my life. I’m happy to say the anger has left my heart, thanks to many people & churches that despite my best efforts, pulled me in closer. When I lived in Dallas for a summer, the Village Church was and continues to be the example of how the Church does church right. Also, Passion City Church in Atlanta has been a constant source of spiritual nourishment to me (I’d encourage you to check out both churches’ podcasts–great stuff.) Even in Nashville, I on & off again attended an incredible church before we moved away.
But really… I’m nervous to trust a church again.
I have many questions.
Why can’t my spiritual fellowship come from other places or people? Must they be organized to a certain time slot at a certain location? Does the Church have to be stuck at church? If the purpose of our lives is to bring honor & glory to God, for Him to increase & us to decrease, why are we so stuck on the American church model? Couldn’t church happen at any time and any place if the total presence of God is with us at all times? And why are there so many damn building projects (why are we so focused on temporary aesthetics when there’s real work to be done?)?
This is where I am, a Christian young adult part of the 60%. I’m searching for the answers to those questions and remaining hopeful that, like my peers who have found their home in a church, I will find my place too.
Don’t give up on me. My story is to be continued.