Why is so many young poeple leaving the church

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I don't no if this happen in other districts(episcopal or conferences) but alot off young poeple leave the church in the districts where i am located.

You need to understand that I am asking this question in broad not that it is currently happening with our local church. Over the years I have seen so many young poeple leave the AME chuch. Some of them just say, 'it isn't nice in the church for the young poeple'

Just yesterday, me and one of my collegues at work spoke about this matter. One of her friends use to a memeber of an AME church but leave the church due to some 'problem'. I need to bring you attention to the fact that i need you to look at the question from a positive side of view. I realy need feedback on this cause i am currently involve with the young poeple of the church. So many of our young poeple leave OUR church for a charishmatic, penticostal church's.

So here's my questions: 1) What do you,as CONCERN MEMBERS of the church, think is the reason why so many young poeple is leaving the church, 2) What can we, as CONCERN MEMBERS,of the church do to prevent things like this to happen to OUR beloved church and how can WE win our old members back for the church, 3) Will we, as CONCERN MEMBERS, help to formulate a plan of action to ensure the church existence i.r.s of our young poeple.

I do hope that I will get positive responds on this question.

God Bless!!!


"Where there's no VISION the poeple perish'

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001


Many young people must go to church where their parents take them, so I don't think this is the group we're talking about. We're concerned about those teenagers and young adults have a choice on where to go to church, if they choose to go to church at all. The reasons for their choices will be very diverse, from "that church has a lot of cute girls" to "that's where the Spirit of God is moving".

Having said that we can toss up a few ideas that will make it easier for churches to attract and retain this group. First of all there must be other young people present. Few young people want to go to a church where they're alone in the midst of a bunch of old folks. To facilitate this you must have exciting youth and young adult ministries. There should be a pastor or lay leader running these programs that is full of God, their music must be played and sung, and they should feel like they have a mission. They should have their own meetings, but things should also be done to make them feel integrated into the larger congregation. During the Sunday services are they expected to just sit patiently while the older folks do their thing, or is it their service too?

This group is also compartmentalized, and a formum should exist for each group. If possible junior high activites should be separated from high schoolers, and young single adults should have a group separated from young couples. Each has different needs, and too often we clump them all together.

Finally there's the issue of tradition discussed in other threads. Younger people generally couldn't care less about this. Many churches find it impossible to strike a balance between the blank slate approach taken by younger people, and the comfortable traditions preferred by the older ones...especially senior citizens. Depending on the age and outlook of the pastor, board, and dominant population, you'll find churches have either a youthful or traditional personality. From there people will gravitate toward a church that makes them feel at home. That's why some churches have few elderly people, and some have few young people. The challenge churches face is to make all age groups feel at home. There should be something for everyone.

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001

I agree my brother that there are many things we need to do to upgrade our youth ministries in the local church. I happen to pastor a church thaT IS BLESSED with a large youth dept. and young adult ministry as well. As far as the youth leaving to go to a more pentecostal worship we need to teach our youth the the pentecostal thrust in the black church began with African Methodism. The term "slain in the spirit" is a Methodist terminology not pentecostal or COGIC. I think we need to do more teaCHING ON THE FOUNDATION AND EARLY beginnings of the AME movement. There are many factors to this question because alot falls on pastors . If pastors dont have a vision for youth ministry then not much will happen in that local church because without the pastor's blessing or support the youth ministry in that church is limited. We also need to becareful as to who we put in charge of our youth ministries in our local church. Just because a person is a parent and teach Church School doesnt necessarilymean they are the best person for the ministry. I think youth ministers and workers shoulkd be screened and interviewed properly by the pastor and those involved in Christian Education to make sure we have the best person possible to head this vital ministry. There is much more I can say but I will wait to se what my colleagues or others have to contribute.

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001

I should add one other point. Scripture tells us that the older people should teach the younger ones, and too often the older people have failed to do this. My wife benefitted tremendously from elderly women who helped her with advice when we were raising our first child. Younger men should have the chance to serve alongside older men in ministry. Teenagers and adults should be assisting older adults in as many areas as possible because they need to be groomed to take over. At the same time we need to understand that when they do take over, they're not going to do things the same old way, and the older people need to accept that. Finally the older people need to share what God has taught them through the years. Too often the young people must learn the same hard lessons all over again.

What we want to avoid is a church where the young and old rarely work together. Sooner or later one group or the other will start drifting away.

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001

The fundamental reason for why AME youth and young adults are rapidly disappearing in our churches can be captured in a single phrase - Choices & Priorities. Like mature adults, our young adults value personal choice and freedom. Compulsory church attendance is typically repealed by parents/guardians after a kid has reached some arbitrary teen age, e.g. 15 or 16. Many of our young "church drop-outs" express that their decision to become delinquent church attendees is only an expression about disconnection from the "irrelevant, rigid environment" of organized religion, not disconnection from God. Singing in the choir or ushering is OK, but the problem comes on the Sundays when our youth are not assuming some lead role. Again, like their mature adult counterparts, they accept God as a priority but not current ecclesiastical practices.

When I assumed the duties of Church School Superintendent I suggested that we expand our teaching time to allow greater interpersonal discussion particularly for our Jr. High and Sr.High classes. In order to accomplish this modest change I decided that Church School begin by students going directly to their classes at 9:30 thereby eliminating our "traditional" morning session. We would continue with a closing session starting at 10:30. My only "opposition" to the new format came from a handful of members (considerably older than 30) who felt the new changes repeal tradition and potentially hurts the development of our youth. I would like to think I am a reasonable person. I listened carefully to the concerns expressed and decided that after a 6 month pilot period if the majority wanted to return to the old way, so be it. My young students were firm in wanting to cancel the openinng session and their preference carried when we decided to go with the modified program. The non sequiturs expressed by my elderly fellow members placed a higher value on tradition than creative learning. I frimly believe that tradition should not suffocate creativity. I say this only to serve as an example about why it is essential to keep the youth's concerns close to our decision making activities

In addition, several years ago I posted on this BB that YPD will have to be fundamentally restructured if the AMEC is serious about retaining and recruiting more youth and young adult on our rolls. YPD first of all should be removed from the auspices of the WMS, immediately!! Young adults are perfectly capable of planning their own programs without the maternal oversight imposed by our WMS leaders. Many of these young men and women have already attained professional work status so let's cease treating them like "children" and respect them as equals. Furthermore, if they make mistakes in their new-found autonomy, so what?! The elevated self-confidence knowing that young adults are fully in charge more than compensates for minor indiscretions or deviation from Discipline protocol. QED

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001

Brother Jerome, As the Youth Pastor at my church, we've tried to use some innovative approaches to including our young people in the worship experience. It begins with our Church School, we use a Junior Superintendent, etc. and each week either they teach the class or are responsible for getting one of their peers or a parent to teach the lesson. Each youth class has an adult facilitator. The youth department is set up as a Junior Church so that they are in training in every aspect of the church.

Some of our older students play instruments so they are encouraged to use their instruments on Sunday's when they sing. Since I love the theater and was on stage, we use skits and plays and monologues quite a lot, too. I've used books and adapted the material to fit our needs and they've also written their own skits out of their own experiences.

We've used the "rites of passage" information from Rev. G. L. Champions' book to instill in them how to handle peer pressure, self- esteem, etc.

And still, dear brother, some drop by the way side for various reasons. All we can do is train them up in the way they "should" go and pray that when they become older they will not "depart" from it. I'm glad the scripture left room for the "stayers". (smile)

It takes much prayer!

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001

Great discussion! Our Christian Education Superintendent is my daughter and she is 24. And I think that really helps with our young adult group which she leads. Her group meets in a coffeehouse to do their bible study. And the person in charge of our "Homeless Task Force initiative is 18!" I am so proud of her for she has been going on Christian missions for five years to other countries, building homes in central america, and going to Seattle to work in homeless shelters. She actually has more experience than any one else in the church. Our church is developing a homeless shelter in our community. And our church is on the executive committee for this interfaith project. It is wonderful to see our young adult offering ideas. Give them love and they will come, show them respect and they will stay.

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001

There are two groups of young people that we have to take into account when discussing young peopole in our church teens and twentysomethings. Many times we group these two groups together as the young folks but they are distinctly different one from the other. Teens typically go to church with their parents or at least at the same church as their parents. Retaining them is a matter of making church relevant to their needs and inclusive of their interests. When they are of the age that they are no longer compelled by their parents to come to church teens need programs that they can feel a part of as a reason to come to church. It is not that they have any less of a connection to God but they need to have a connection and reason to attend our churches. For too long the AME Church has relied on the YPD as the gathering place for the youth. The problem is the age range for the YPD is 2 to 26. If a child has been in the YPD since 2 by 12 it becomes old hat. We must make strides in being relevant to those that we wish to have in our communities.

Twentysomethings are another story all together. What we must realize is that people in their twenties are typically transient. They are in many cases returning from college, moving into a new town or have been in the same church all of their lives. For the ones who are new to town we must ask oursellves, "If I were new to town and in my twenties why would I come to this church and moreover how would I know about it." We in many cases do not see people in their twenties in our churches because there is no attraction and they do not know about our churches. Unless your churhc happens to be in a place where a lot of young people live they are not just going to wander into the doors. We must make an effort to attract these people if we want them to come to our churches. As for people in their 20s who have always been in our churches retaining them is a question of how relevant our our services and ministries to their needs. As they grew up here did the church have programs that they could plug into or do they need to get older before we have anything for them?

The days of people going to AME churches because they are AME churches has long since past. We live in an age now that demands that we address the needs and concerns of a younger generation or we doom our churches to continue to shrink.

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2001

It is sad but true that we have allowed our young people to take the back seat. So many of them are lost because the twenty, thirty, forty, and the fifty-something's are not prepared to help them. We've missed the boat as far as educating them in the basics that will help them to overcome any and all obstacles that they will face.

In my community, the youngest of them are selling drugs, stealing cars, and robbing folk and when you talk to their parents, the first thing out of their mounth is "I can't do anything with that child".

Because we as parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles failed to intercede into their lives when they were young, today we're paying the price. Not all of our children fall into this category, but to many of them do.

How can we turn the tide of these lost generations? Prayer is a major factor in turning these circumstances around. We must be consistent and persistent. Likewise, our prayers need to be specific and scriptually based filled with praise and adoration.

I'm looking for a miracle! My hope is in Christ my Savior and my God!

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2001

There was a time when people went to church because their parents went there, or because the church represented the tradition of the family, or because the church is a particular denomination and that denomination represents a certain class/status in the community. Young people of today select churches based on how they are fed. That "feeding" usually comes in the form of preaching, the word/Bible Study/teaching, music ministry, the addressing of pertinent issues of the day, and a good retention program, -- how are the members of the church caring about and treating the young people so that they may stay at the church. I know this is not the most grammatically correct paragraph but I am thinking and typing at the same time, so I hope you understand what I am saying. Unfortunately, many of the churches, at least in the community in which I live, are seriously lacking in these areas. This is one of the reasons why at my church the 21-49 year old age group is either non-existent or is basically a non-contributing entity in our church. Those of us who are concerned are trying to develop ministries to address the issues facing this age group, but unfortunately, before the programs get accepted by the Official Board, the other churches/denominations in the area who have these programs in place often scoop up our young people.

-- Anonymous, December 05, 2001

I am apart if the AME church and I 20years old. I think the reason that so many of us leave the churchis because there are some churches not all but some that say that the young adults are to young to be a apart of one ministry and to old to be apart of that ministry. And I am actually tired of hearing that. Also because there are alot of people in the church that call themselves christians but have more of the devil in them then what is in the streets. Alot of churches look down on young people to day when the issue of premarital sex comes up and those young adults that say they have particapated in sex before marraige and those that have children out of weddlock are looked at as though there is nothing that God can do with you and so the church tturns them away and turns them lose into the streets where they are going to have temptations and lose faith in themselves and also God. that is why so many young people are leaving the church and not just the AME church but all churches.

May God bless you as he has me 1 Luv

Ayesha hemingway temple AMEC

-- Anonymous, November 15, 2002

Dear Ayesha thank you for your honesty and you are exactly the kind of leader God is calling to the A.M.E church. I am sorry you have encountered those who do not have a forgiving heart. For Jesus truly has a heart for forgiveness, you raised the issue of Premarital sex and single moms being left out of the church. Mary the mother of Jesus was a teenager and when Joseph who she was engaged to marry found out she was pregnant, he gave her the opportunity to leave, for under jewish law a woman who was pregnant before marriage would be stoned to death. God intervened and our lord and savior was born. God continues to intervene in our lives. If a young person has had a child without being married. THEY SHOULD BE IN CHURCH to receive the support they so badly need. Spiritually, emotionally and financially. The church should be a safe haven and not a place where people are afraid to come for comfort.We have several young people in our church who have children who are not married. And we are thrilled for these young women have the support of the church, we baby sit, and help them get jobs. And we receive the blessing of their wonderful babies. I have some very good news for you Ayesha, the age group that you are in is called the "MILLENIALS" they come after Generation X. This group of young people will be the LARGEST group in the history of the world. They will be larger than the Baby Boomers (the group that I am in ages 50 to 65). In the next 10 to 20 years the Baby Boomers will retire and or die. (Look around your church the one's that are blocking you will be gone) due to retirement or death. And the group that will fill our shoes are the MILLENIALS (your group) the millenials will have to take on leadership roles for there are not enough people in the group preceeding yours (Generation x) to fill all the positions. The church (all denominations) will have to look closely at this phenomana for it will impact on the survival of the church. We cannot do kingdom building without young adults and youth. God has called the young adults in the A.M.E church for such a time as this. For our young adults will be our future Bishops, our young adults will decide what the church will look like. Ayesha, I do believe God is preparing you and others for exciting ministries. DO NOT LEAVE OR GIVE UP! My daughter is 25 and the co-founder of our church. We cannot do ministry without her!! Look around our connection and you will find churches with vibrant young adult ministries. Empowerment Temple, Rev. Jamal Bryant is the pastor is one of these churches. My church with over 80 percent or our members under the age of 30. And their are others. If you do not have a young adult group start one. Get together for coffee during the week and do a contemporary bible study. At least once a month my daughter takes our young adult group to the mall for shopping and fun. At the end of the day they also have come up with mission projects. Ayesha you have power with God. Remember Jesus our Lord and Savior was a young adult!! Keep posting, we need you in the church. Joy in Christ, P.S If I or my daughter can help at all email us. Our church web site is St. Paul Community A.M.E Church


-- Anonymous, November 16, 2002

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