Considerations for Keeping Young Adults in the Church

If the Christian church is to remain vibrant, it do better at keeping young adults in church than it currently does. Based on the current trend, that’s easier said than done. I recently read an article published by the Barna Group entitled, “5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church.” The article stated that within the generation born between 1984 and 2002, nearly six in ten (59%) of those who grew up in Christian churches ended up abandoning either their faith or church attendance in the first decade of their adult life.


Also, according to Barna’s research, the unchurched segment among millennials has increased in the last decade from 44% to 52%. Of course, this trend reflects what’s happening in the general population, but in this post, I will focus on the young adult population.


The article I referred to above is based on research done for the Faith That Lasts Project. The main research was conducted with 18- to 29-year olds who had been active churchgoers at some point as teens. Out of the research came valuable insights on what can  be done to help in the area of keeping young adults in the church. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it should be of value to Christian churches and leaders interested in keeping  young adults in the church.


The research findings point to five ways the Christian church can help young adults build deeper, more lasting relationships with Christ and the church. I will list them in very short bullets. You can refer to Barna’s article for more details:


  • Make room for meaningful relationships. According to the findings, young adults who remained active in church were twice as likely to have a close relationship with an adult member of the church than those who did not remain active.
  • Teach cultural discernment. The church must help millennials understand and interpret the culture in which they live.


  • Take young people seriously. Young adults don’t want to be the church of tomorrow but of today.
  • Embrace the power of vocational discipleship. According to the findings, young adults who stayed with the church and their faith were three times more likely than dropouts were to say they learned to view their gifts and passions as part of God’s calling.
  • Facilitate connection with Jesus. The church must facilitate a deeper sense of intimacy with God resulting in faith that is integrated in all areas of life.
Nothing here is guaranteed. But the findings are based on extensive research, including 1296 interviews of 18- to 29-year olds. If churches and church leaders are interested in tackling the problem of keeping young adults in the church, they should at least consider the points above.
Copyright © 2013 by Frank King. All rights reserved.

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2 thoughts on “Considerations for Keeping Young Adults in the Church

  1. Facilitate connection with Jesus sums it all up. We must point our young adults to a living relationship with the Lord. God bless

  2. Amen; To accomplish this end, I believe the Christian church must learn how to communicate the gospel more effectively to millennials. We must know how to speak to the issues they grapple with in their world.

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