A new study from LifeWay Research reveals that more than two-thirds of young adults who attend a Protestant church for at least a year in high school will stop attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22. Lifeway cites “life change issues” as the primary reason for this decline in church attendance. Life issues includes work demands, moving, off to college.

I can’t help but think that the church is largely to blame for this. In an incredibly mobile society people need a sense of purpose and belonging, not a show and a speaker. If we cultivate community that is on mission, this age group may be more likely to stick with “church” because it becomes a social network in which human longings for purpose and relationship are found.