Generation Ex-Christian
Book ~ Drew Dyck
Categories | Belief

Young people aren’t walking away from the church—they’re sprinting. According to a recent study by Ranier Research, 70 percent of youth leave church by the time they are 22 years old. Barna Group estimates that 80 percent of those reared in the church will be “disengaged” by the time they are 29 years old. Unlike earlier generations of church dropouts, these “leavers” are unlikely to seek out alternative forms of Christian community such as home churches and small groups. When they leave church, many leave the faith as well.

Drawing on recent research and in-depth interviews with young leavers, Generation Ex-Christian shines a light on this crisis and proposes effective responses that go beyond slick services or edgy outreach.

Christianity is regarded with suspicion by the younger generation. Those who leave the faith are often downright cynical. To make matters worse, parents generally react poorly when their children go astray. Many sink into a defensive crouch or go on the attack, delivering homespun fire-and-brimstone sermons that further distance their grown children. Others give up completely or take up the spiritual-sounding “all we can do is pray” mantra without truly exploring creative ways to engage their children on matters of faith. Some turn to their churches for help, only to find that they frequently lack adequate resources to guide them.

This is where Generation Ex-Christian lends a hand. It equips and inspires parents, church leaders, and everyday Christians to reawaken the prodigal's desire for God and set him or her back on the road to a dynamic faith. The book features raw profiles of real-world, young ex-Christians and identifies seven different kinds of leavers (the postmodern skeptic, the drifter, the neopagan, etc.), offering practical advice for how to connect with each type.

Author Drew Dyck is the editorial manager of the ministry team at Christianity Today International. He holds an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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This book presents and clarifies a variety of spiritual worldviews that compete for our attention and loyalty. These perspectives cannot be easily dismissed unless we are willing to easily dismiss their adherents as well.

Some say it's an epidemic. Young people, raised in church, professing Christians are leaving the faith as young adults. I spent six years in full-time youth ministry. I can look back on the young people I encountered and see the reality of the problem. They are not statistics, they are real people. These are kids I taught, counseled, and guided. These are kids that were active in church and enthusiastic about their faith. Now, they are gone. In some cases, long gone.

Drew Dyke takes a look at the disturbing trend of those 18-29 leaving the church and never coming back. If you don't think that this is a major problem facing the church, just look around your congregation. You'll likely see a generation missing - that of the 18-29 years old.