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Disillusioned with the Church

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Cultivating Healthy Families: Helping parents when kids choose to leave the church

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Introduction: It’s sad, but it’s reality. Kids are leaving church. They are starting to become disillusioned with church as early as their pre-teen years. How can churches partner with parents to encourage students in a lifelong relationship with Jesus?


  1. What’s causing this disillusionment?
  • One reason may stem from hypocrisy in churches. Kids are growing up and looking to their parents, teachers, pastors, and other faith leaders. They see people in the church who are saying one thing but living in a totally different way. This lack of authenticity may lead students to leave church.
  • Another reason may be that kids aren’t connecting the Bible to their daily lives. They see no life-application in what they learn on Sundays. They may even wonder, “Is this all make-believe?”
  1. How can we start conversations about it?
  • This trend among young people is sad and, because of that, some parents and churches simply don’t talk about it. That’s not the right way to go!
  • Encourage parents to talk to pastors about their kids. Church leaders should initiate this type of conversation, too.
  • Partner with parents in any way possible. This can be as formal as a sermon series or as informal as a conversation over pizza.
  1. How can we address this problem?
  • Talk with parents, help them gauge where their kids are in their faith journey, and emphasize their role as primary faith leaders.
  • Be mindful of your curriculum. Be sure it is connecting the Bible to everyday life, and make sure it has a connection that parents can emphasize at home with kids.
  • Pray always!

Thought Starters:

  • What kinds of comments have your youth ministry staff members heard about hypocrisy in your church?
  • How does your youth ministry connect with parents?
  • How is your youth ministry curriculum connecting kids’ lives to the Bible in tangible ways?


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