Why Teens Hate Going to Church

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I am not going to give you a psychological jibber jabbery blog on why teenagers dislike church. Some things are not that complicated to understand.

I read an article about why kids leave church and I finished reading it having more questions then answers like: Why are kids leaving church? They’re kids. Better question would be how are they leaving? Is a 7 year old taking his dad’s keys and driving home? Are 12 year olds threatening their parents with violence if they don’t leave them home? My mother would never let me stay home unless I was clearly too sick to be in public.

As far as teens are concerned. The reason they leave church is pretty simple and some may be the same reason the churches are quietly dying…

1. Lack of Spirituality

This is the first thing many older church members will say about those teens who leave church. It’s simple to say, but how do we fix the problem?

Everyone has doubts, the problem is people would rather leave church then ask questions. They’d rather leave church or live with their doubts than talk to their pastor, church elder or youth director.

A few years ago. I attended an international Camporee. I, along with my group sat outside of our tents at around 11 pm having a late night snack. As we sat, the younger teens began asking religious question. Some very simple, others more complex. I was almost in tears, because I had known some of them for 3 or more years and never knew they had these doubts. It made me realize how inactive I was, not inactive in church, but inactive in the lives of the teens. I partially blamed myself, but then I wondered why they didn’t talk to their parents about this stuff and they said “We can’t. Every time we ask questions, they get mad and frustrated.”

Always goes back to the parents doesn’t it? Anywho, it took one dark night…and food to get them to open up about their doubts.

When someone gets rejected for a job due to lack of experience, they ask “How can I get experience if no one hires me?” Well, how can someone learn how to be spiritual if no one teaches them? Don’t worry if parents are doing their job or not, worry about if you’re doing yours.

2. Boring.

Let’s face it, it is difficult for teens or even adults to sit down for 3-4 hours and do nothing but listen. It’s not just church, at least with me it isn’t. I’m the same way in school even at work. After only an hour into my orientation and I’m all ready for my first break.

It’s not always a lack of spirituality, let’s be honest even the most faithful christian can be seen snoozing on their pew. Wonder where the pastor went? Check the back room, he’s probably there taking a nap!

Some people compare church to TV and say if you can watch TV for 5 hours, you shouldn’t have a problem in church. That’s a bad comparison because with TV you have different personalities, commercial breaks, food to eat during, comedy and all around entertainment. Church…let’s face it, there can be 100 different people speaking and many times they all speak as if there were snipers on them ready to shoot if they mess up.  No emotion behind their words. No individuality. Of course, nervs play a major role in that too. Which makes it more of the presenter’s fault then the actual church’s.

In nature humans seek entertainment, especially teens. Something that will raise their emotions instead of listening to logic and truth. That is why people like Pr. Jose Rojas is so popular among the youth. He makes jokes and adds humor. Thus keeping the attention of all listeners. He adds humor into logic and truth. Keeping listeners attention and educating them at the same time.

All the church has to do is add more humor to it or the presenters could add their own personal touch. The sermons, the skits etc. I know some people will say that church is not a place to make jokes. I’m sure God has a sense of humor and as long as we don’t disrespect him and cross the line, he won’t mind. Others will say church is not a theater. I’m not saying to turn church into a circus or a Hollywood production, but things need to improve to keep the attention of the teens and the members in general.

3. Criticism

How do you tell a baptized teen how to dress appropriately without offending them? Beats me, but it’s best to say nothing until you know how.

The only people that can tell teens how to dress and act are celebrities…apparently. They don’t like going to church and being told what not to do, much less how to dress and lose their “Swag” status. Church does have a dress code, like school does used to have and we should obey those policies. Personally, I don’t see why they make it so complicated. Dress shirt and dress pants. They come way cheaper then the latest brands for jeans and shirts. At the same time the churches (and I know mine does not do this) should understand that some teens may not have the time to iron/wash dressy clothes. or maybe they did but something caused them to change. In all fairness teens have no reason to not come well dressed or appropriately dressed to church, I understand the church in this, however the church needs to learn a way to acknowledge the issue without offending the teen…mission impossible? Yes, but it’s important to make it clear to them that you are not criticizing what they wear but merely advising them on what’s appropriate, especially when they stand or sit (in female cases) on stage.

4. Gossip

Probably the main reason. Gossip is the number 1 member loosing, faith destroying tool Satan has come up with. It’s destroyed marriages, relationships and friendships. It is not your job to warn a girl about a boy she likes or a guy about a girl he likes. It is not your job to tell others what someone was doing on a Saturday Night. It is not your job to tell others about a personal battle someone is having with temptation.

1 Peter 4:15 (KJV) But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

Leviticus 19:16 (NIV) Do not go about spreading slander among your people. ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.

There are many other versus on the subject. Exodus says not to spread false reports. It’s one of the Ten Commandments. While I realize not all Christians are perfect, this is probably the worse one than an alcoholic Christian, because at least the drunkard doesn’t take anyone else down with him. His drunken actions aren’t causing teens to leave church. His drinking habits don’t ruin relationships. What’s your job? To simply pray for that person, reach out to others about God and work on your own problems.

5. Lack of Discipline

We get up for work because we have to, truth is we don’t have to, we choose to because we want/need the money. No one is forcing you to go to work, you force yourself. You have taught yourself to be responsible and be disciplined, but when it comes to church are we disciplined? We can blame others, we can blame rumors, we can blame the boringness of the church, but many times people don’t go because they just don’t want to get up early and go. They’re too tired, it’s too early and whatever else. Sometimes the reason teens don;t go to church is simply because they are not disciplined enough. Work is really not as important as your salvation. Miss work and your job is on the line, miss church your life is on the line.

Agree, Disagree? Comment below.

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