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Give Me a Break!

Hi everyone,

I see this in the church alot. A kids plugged into church because his family are believers but they "do church" like you do a weekly hobby, the kid doesn’t see real power and as soon as he gets the chance he’s out.

Below is a glimpse of my friend Sam Rainer’s book that has not been released. Sam is a Pastor, president of Rainer Research, manages his own blog Church Forward and writes a column and blog for Outreach magazine.

Give Me a Break! By Sam S. Rainer III

The number one reason why young adults 18-22 leave the church is because they simply wanted a break from church. And I believe this speaks more to the condition of the church than it does the hearts of this generation. More is revealed in my book, Essential Church? (to be released this fall), but I thought I would share a few thoughts with you before the book is released. We interviewed over 1,000 students in a large, nationwide study to take the pulse of why they drop out of church. We were certainly surprised with the top result: they simply wanted a break from church.


Ingrained in the minds of our youngest generation is the deep-rooted philosophy that taking a sabbatical from church is permitted or even refreshing. But church is not a chore, nor should it be viewed as such. Unfortunately, many churches have turned attendance into a duty likened to taking out the garbage – it’s necessary so your life doesn’t get too stinky.

But lost somewhere is the idea that we are to grow discipled warriors for God. Church can be fun; fellowship is many times viewed as one of the essential purposes of the church. But our churches should produce and grow disciplined, God-glorifying people, not callow Christians.

Taking a break from church is synonymous to taking a break from God. The two are inexplicably tied – Christ the bridegroom, the church his bride (Ephesians 5:31-33). Regardless, many of our youth believe that this hiatus from church is worthwhile. They take a break from church like they would any other social venue.

And we shouldn’t react with disdain, but rather with a loving heart that shows them how critical a role church plays in the life of people.

At issue in many churches are the vast amounts of programs and “spots to fill.” Our youth see adults in the church begrudgingly serving in areas for which they have little passion. They see their parents and others getting sucked into the vacuum of church service.

And it becomes much harder for the leadership of the church to build ministries around people who will not champion them. But if we begin to show the 18-22 year-old group that serving in church is more about using your God-given giftedness and less about stepping in because there is a spot in a program to fill, they are less likely to want a break from church.

The essential church provides an environment where community is created. The essential church doesn’t rely on endless programs to attract others; they use people to connect with others. This generation is attracted to the church that realizes they are essential to the survival of the body of Christ. And once they realize how essential they are, then they certainly won’t want to “take a break” from church.

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