Several years ago, I posted a question on Facebook: Why are so many people, especially young people walking away from church and/or God? I received many answers. Here are two examples:

Mike – I either was always saved or getting saved, until I learned how to fake it! It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I realized the church has become — a country club. It’s where people go to gather in large beautiful buildings. Where they feed the hungry 2-3 times a year and themselves each week. Where people who claim to be Christians on Sunday, rarely live it on Monday.

• Fake it.
• Church is a country club.
• Large beautiful buildings.
• Feed the hungry 2-3 times per year and themselves each week.
• Claim to be Christians on Sunday but rarely live it on Monday.

Church Stained Glass

Susan – As a high school counselor, I have a lot of thoughts on this, especially since I no longer attend. I was a youth director for two different churches over the years. I raised both older ones in the church, even after their father left us. Afterward, we were not always treated kindly. My two year old has been once in his life, at 2 months old for baptism but I found the service hollow and couldn’t pretend that I wanted these people to help me “raise” him. I am FAR, FAR from perfect but I crave authenticity, I rarely find it and almost never in churches I attended. Our youth don’t attend for the same reasons. They KNOW and SEE when we are lying, they see FEW adults that are truly HAPPY in their lives, they are NOT inspired by us! I have sat with SO many kids and had the most spiritual conversations WITHOUT invoking the word GOD in a public school. THEY CRAVE to hear about our Creator, they CRAVE direction and they CRAVE our HONEST attention. NO ONE talks openly or honestly about anything.

• Susan was involved, even raised two children in the church.
• Experienced a crisis and the church did not “treat her kindly.”
• Described a service of Baptism as “hollow.”
• Craves authenticity within the church and can’t find it.
• Youth see our lies, see that we are not happy and are not inspired by us.
• Youth crave spiritual conversations, crave direction and crave honest attention from us.
• But they don’t receive it. “No one talks very openly or honestly about anything.

These are tough accusations to digest but after sharing these comments with others inside and outside the church; I believe they represent a huge block of people no longer satisfied with church as usual.

After Mike shared what was wrong with the church, he offered this advice: “We (the church) need to go back to the basics. Give me people who “know” God and desire to see others come to this knowledge. Let us then go and “live” the word through our actions daily.”

• We need to go back to the basics of being the church.
• We need to “know” God and desire to see others know.
• We need to “live” the word through our actions daily.

Good advice but how should we respond?

Next week: Answers!