Bobby Conway (The One Minute Apologist) interviewed J. Warner Wallace (author of Cold-Case Christianity) on the reason why so many young believers are leaving the church during and even after college.
Before we do or change anything, we have to at least acknowledge that our young people are being challenged when they attend college. This should help us realize that we need to begin to address the inevitable concerns they will be faced with before they go off to college campuses around the globe.
The three most critical factors involved in this flight from church are:
1. Young people are underprepared.
They are not adequately equipped to make a case for what they believe and why they believe it. As a whole, we as the church have failed our youth. We have been too busy entertaining them when we really needed to better teach and prepare them.
2. Young people enter into a hostile campus environment.
A higher percentage of unbelievers are on faculty at college campuses; thus, students are exposed to a plethora of arguments that seek to undermine the faith of young Christians. A distrust of sacred texts exists in academics, and young people are taught to question everything they were raised to believe.
3. Young people, like all of us, struggle with pursuing desire.
At college, young people are faced with the opportunity to embrace an alternative worldview that allows them to do whatever they want to do. They already are wrestling with their own inner desires to sin, and that, coupled with a hostile environment and being unprepared to handle it, inevitably leads to a significant number of church-raised young people falling away from their faith.
So what exactly can we do to help young people stay in the church when they get to college?
Although we can’t fight their inner desires for them, we can prepare them better. Equipping young people with sound, reasoned answers to the inevitable questions they will face as they go out into the world will give them a better chance to survive those tough college years.