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What do young people actually think of the church?

As you may know there is an Evangelical Alliance Council meeting this week. We are looking at how we help young people to develop resilient adult faith. There’s been some really helpful comments on this subject already here. Council members are asked to talk to some young people before they come to the event and to ask the following three questions. Would love to ask you to have the same conversation with some young people you know and post the results below.

1. What is the best thing about church?

2. Why do young people leave the church?

3. How does church need to change to equip you for real life?

I have asked young people to fill the following three question survey in for themselves – but talking about it and reporting back the conversation is equally helpful. (If you click on the image above you can print out a full size version). If you are happy to disclose the name and town the young person is from that would be great.

Many thanks

Krish

twitter response:

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here’s an image that may work better on powerpoint

10 thoughts on “What do young people actually think of the church?”

  1. What is the best thing about church?
    – I like it when we do different activities that bring all ages in.
    Why do young people leave the church?
    – maybe there embarrassed of choosing church before their friends so they change there minds or make their friends first

    Girl aged 10, oxfordshire

  2. 1. The best thing about church is… The youth group on sunday mornings.
    2. Young people leave church because they are bored.

    boy aged 13 Oxfordshire

  3. 1. The best thing about church is… The fact you can be open about your religion.
    2. Young people leave church… Because some people think that it isn’t cool.
    3. The church needs to change by… Encouraging baptism at a younger age,

    Boy aged 11 , Oxfordshire

  4. 1. The best thing about church is… The songs and the people.
    2. Young people leave church because… They find it boring and try to fit in with their friends.

  5. 1. The best thing about church is… Learning about God and seeing friends.
    2. Young people eave the church… Because they think it’s boring.
    3. The church would be better… It could teach you more about how to respond to questions and how to be in certain situations.

    Boy, 13, Oxfordshire

    1. The following response comes from a family that would like to remain anonymous

      A 15 year old boy commented:
      1 Teens group midweek
      2 Discover science and it is more believable than God and they teach it more in school than RE
      3 Teach about how God influenced science rather than creation story. Learn to get on with and respond to other religions.

      His 12 year old son brother said:
      1 Fairtrade stall selling chocolate
      2 Don’t like our new vicar – i.e. changes – less child friendly before children go to Sunday Club, no flags, action songs etc (even though he never participated the familiarity made him feel comfortable), having unconsecrated bread at communion, favourite band no longer being used. Probably says more about his Dyspraxia and how children struggle with change than anything else! But then also a reflection on the lack of consulting children in these changes (let along the rest of the congregation)
      3 Make things go back to how they were.

      Parents view – friends are key in keeping them coming to church in the teen years. My oldest has a number of boys at church his age/close to his age with similar interests, he goes to church to see them as not at school with them. Younger son has no boys near him in age, those nearest in age he has never clicked with, prefers his brother’s friends, which of course does not go down well.
      Also I am perplexed that our evening services are aimed at young adults/students, yet consist of what seems to me to be very shallow sung worship – a structure of 5-6 songs (including confession), testimony spot, 1/2 hour sermon, 5-6 songs, NO intercessory prayer or other prayers. Since my experience is that boys do not like singing this is NOT attractive to the teenage boys I know. My eldest enjoyed Soul Survivor because he went with his friends but did commented that he did not like the evening worship – too much singing, and too long talks (uncomfortable to sit on the hard ground when you are very thin). Surely we need to be more inventive and imaginative about how we do teaching – short talks and discussion? Surely we need to be teaching our young people that worship is more than singing and that praying for the huge needs of the local, national and global world is essential? The old need to learn from the young AND the young need to learn from the experience of the old. There is value in old and new forms of worship.

      1. Love the idea of testimony in a service – I don’t think we share enough of our walk with Jesus, and I’ve seen so much good coming out of learning from each other, how we’ve dealt with good and bad. I did lead a session with young people (teens) on intercessory prayer, after some comments from them that they were being asked to pray about situations and people they knew nothing about, and didn’t always agree with what was being prayed for. Certainly challenged me to think a lot harder about preparing intercessions, and give more context, not assume that everyone watches the BBC news!

    2. I want to go to church but as a student I have alot of work to do so I don’t have time. I mean that this is the reason that the student gives.we think that after we complete our education finding our job. then later in the middle age we want to go to the church.

  6. I’ve noticed that churches can have a fantastic youth ministry but also have an alarmingly high drop-out rate at the ages of 18-21. I’m sure this is partly down to the fact that as a teen you can be a part of a great community of believers with similar interests and issues to you, you hit 18 and all of a sudden aren’t allowed to go to youth group any more! You’re then expected to join the regular church and mix with the older generation. OK, if you go to uni there’s Christian Unions but if you dont, then what?

    Should we be doing more to help teens with the difficult transition form adolescence to adulthood? Are we doing enough to integrate teens with the wider church so it’s less of a nasty shock when adolescence is over?
    My thoughts
    Electrogoth

  7. Hi, just finished a dissertation on this very subject including some youtube videos…have a look at the intro and let me know if you want the links for my results etc…. cheers, Steve

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