Anyone keeping tabs on cultural trends isn’t surprised that a shockingly large number of youth are leaving the church. With some even going so far as to renounce the faith altogether.

It reminds me of the devout Christian Union (CU) members I studied with in high-school and University who don’t “do” church anymore. Though formerly religious, they’ve gone ahead to embrace unbiblical and worldly lifestyles.

This begs the question, why?

So, in this post, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on why the massive youth exodus from the church is happening. And while there are many contributing factors, I’m going to narrow down to one factor which I believe all the rest hinge on. This factor is the fact that most of these youths were never Christians, to begin with.

But first, let’s have a look at who is a Christian.

Who is a Christian?

Attending church doesn’t automatically make one a Christian. Neither does actively participating in religious activities.

According to John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, a Christian is a person who has completely placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their only Savior. He/she is someone who under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, believes that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. This is what it means to be born again (John 3:3). 

God “declares righteous,” all those who accept Jesus as their Savior as a free gift (2 Cor 5:21: Eph 2:8). In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the Bible says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  Therefore, a believer in Christ is a brand-new creation; a completely different being. 

Therefore, if a Christian can lose their faith, it means that God would have to renege on His Word and take back His free gift of righteousness. The new creation would have to be undone in order for a Christian to lose their salvation.

This, however, cannot happen, because salvation is something that God initiates in the heart of man. Therefore, it cannot fail (John 6: 37-40; Job 42:2;).

The Bible also says:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8‭-‬9 ESV
And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” John 6:65 ESV

According to Romans 11:29, God’s gifts are “irrevocable” and this includes salvation. In Jude 24-25, the Bible asserts the security of believers by saying:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25 ESV

The eternal inheritance of the believer is guaranteed by the seal of the Holy Spirit upon them (Ephesians 1:14). Philippians 1:6 also says, ” And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Moreover, God has promised in Hebrews 13:5 that he would never leave nor forsake His children.

Why the Youth Leave the Church/Christian Faith

As we’ve established, if a true Christian could stop being one, it would mean that God is unfaithful; that he breaks his promises (Acts 2:37–38). But God is unable to break His word because He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).

So when a person abandons or renounces their faith, they prove that they were never a Christian in the first place (1 John 2:19). This is confirmed if they go on to become rebellious against God for 1 John 3:6 says, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” 

Not everyone who identifies as a “Christian” is genuinely converted. You see, it’s possible to be a devout churchgoer, grow up in a Christian family, fellowship with other Christians, and perhaps even serve in the church and not be born again. It’s easy to put up a fine show and even deceive ourselves. That’s why it’s important that we examine ourselves to see if we are of the faith:

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV

Does this mean that a genuine Christian cannot fall into sin? Certainly not. It’s very possible for a true Christian to fall into sin. But our heavenly father will bring them back to obedience (Heb 12:7-8).

That’s why I argue that the youth are leaving the church because they were never converted, to begin with. As emphasized in 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us because they were never of us. For if they had been of us, they would have without a doubt continued with us“. Additionally, in Matthew 7:21, Jesus warns, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Moreover, in the parable of the sower, Jesus shows that it’s possible for there to be pseudo-converts in the church. (Matthew 13:1-23).

Why Many Youths Remain Unconverted

There are many reasons why many of the youth in the church remain unconverted. But allow me to also zero in on one point which I feel is relevant today. The point is that the majority of churches do not preach solid Biblical truth.

As promised in scripture, false teachings in the church abound. Most preachers seek only to preach what people want to hear at the expense of the Gospel (2 Tim 4:3-4).

As such, many churches have also resorted to using carnal means to entice the youth to attend the church. There’s an increased emphasis on hype and entertainment in the form of hipper worship experiences, concerts with celebrity artists, and a repackaging of the Gospel to give it a “cool ” factor.

Though these things aren’t necessarily all bad, they aren’t the key to bringing the youth back to God in a genuine and long-lasting way. The moment another enticing shiny object presents itself, they’ll drop the church again like a hot piece of coal.

A quote by Grant Castle berry explaining why the youth are leaving the church.

The Solution to the Youth Leaving the Church

You guessed it, it’s the Gospel. The Gospel responds to the most fundamental need of mankind. And even though it’s not current with the times, it still remains relevant. It doesn’t need to be rebranded or repackaged to make it appealing to young folks.

The fact is, many of the young people sitting on the pews each Sunday are spiritually dead. So chances are they won’t respond to the true Gospel as positively as we’d like. But we have to make peace with the fact that the message of the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor 1:18). However, it’s this “foolish” message that contains the power unto salvation (Rom 1:16). Therefore, it should be boldly proclaimed.

There are a lot of voices speaking into the minds of young people today. Needless to say, a lot of the things that the culture of the day tries to shove down our throats are antithetical to the Gospel. And these things play a significant role in the youth leaving the church.

Yet many of the cultural dilemmas that the youth find themselves in today are addressed in the Gospel message. So instead of rehashing it to make it less offensive and more appealing to the youth, it should be preached as is. As it’s what the sinful man needs to hear to be regenerated.

Final Thoughts

In Matthew 28:19–20, Jesus left His followers with the mandate of making disciples. This is also true of the church itself. As such, men of God should devote themselves to proclaiming the Gospel by teaching sound Biblical doctrine. That’s the only way in which church members including the youth can come to the faith and grow to become mature Christians who are firmly rooted in Christ.

Related: The Sinners’ Prayer: My 4 Main Concerns


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  1. avatar

    *This article* is actually a perfect example of why the youth leave the church. As one of said youth, I can firmly say you didn’t listen to the said youth’s actual reasons for leaving church. You have made your own conclusions. Sorry to sound harsh but I have heard so many different iterations of “you were never a Christian anyway” which completely invalidates a whole life and its experiences and perspectives because ultimately it didn’t boil down to YOUR view of religion and how it’s supposed to be practiced. This is why we leave.

    1. avatar
      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Thank you Gowe for sharing your perspective on the issue raised in my blog post. I appreciate your candidness and your emphasis on the importance of acknowledging individual experiences within discussions about faith and the church.

      I want to clarify that my intention was never to dismiss or invalidate anyone’s personal journey with faith. I understand that the decision to leave the church is often complex and deeply personal, influenced by a variety of factors unique to each individual. My focus on a particular aspect in the post was not meant to overshadow or diminish the significance of other contributing factors.

      However, from the beginning of the post, I made it clear that there are numerous contributing elements to the youth exodus, but for the sake of focus, I would be narrowing down to one factor that I believe plays a significant role. Additionally, I would like to provide some context regarding the perspective from which I wrote the blog post. My observations stem from the my personal experiences of witnessing my friends and people that I know leaving the church. In many cases, these individuals seemed to have never encountered a clear presentation of the Gospel that goes beyond the rituals and practices associated with “doing” church when I engaged with some of them.

      I’ve been to churched where the message of salvation, the transformative power of the Gospel, and the personal relationship with Jesus were not adequately emphasized and in most cases glaringly absent. Instead, the focus was on church attendance, religious activities, and external expressions of faith. Unfortunately, when these individuals faced challenges or encountered competing ideologies, they found their faith foundation to be fragile, leading to a subsequent departure from the church.

      That’s why towards the end of the blog post, I deliberately emphasized the vital role of clergymen and church leaders in proclaiming the unadulterated Gospel as the solution to the mass exodus of the youth in the church. Nonetheless, Thank you for your thoughtful engagement.

  2. avatar
    Purity Mbugua says:

    A hard read, but maybe a most needed one too.

    1. avatar
      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Purity. I agree some of my thoughts are hard to come to terms with. But I hope it sheds light on the fact that the youth are desperately need to hear the Gospel if we want them to remain in the Church.

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