Why Are Young People Turned Off to Faith? (#711)

"What is it that young people see in us that woos them to the Father, and what about us makes them think our faith is irrelevant in their lives?" That's what one listener asked me to do with Kyle, so Kyle Rice is back on the podcast to talk about how we can engage people with the engaging adventure of a life of Jesus, instead of a faith filled with boredom and obligation. Their conversation touches on hypocrisy and how much young people crave authenticity and someone who simply cares about them. If you consider yourself a young person, provide your answer to the opening question in the comments below.

Podcast Notes:
Email Kyle
Past Podcasts with Kyle
If You Can Help Us in Kenya



  1. I’m so excited….everything you are talking about is happening in my life since I left the organized church. God has given me a 99 year old lady and a 20 something year old young lady who I met on Facebook. She was drawn to me and we just enjoy each other…talking about a REAL God. The last words my husband spoke to everyone before He went home, from the Holy Spirit…were: BE REAL!!! I want everyone to know the wonderful, loving savior that I know and it’s hard sometimes because I want to shove it down their throats…Shake it into them!!! But of course that’s not God’s way…He’s patient and gentle and REALLY interested in everything they says and do…so me too! I could go on and on but I love this life…Like Wayne said…I would rather sit in a room full of people and just listen and be there for them then to be in a room full of people listening to a whole bunch of rules on how to be a perfect Christian. I’m not one! He’s working on me but I’m far from perfect….just tremendously grateful to be HIS. Love you…thank you!

  2. Wayne, they’re certainly not turned off by faith, but by religiosity! As a high school teacher, I see kids with great faith! Hope you’re doing well, my friend! Greetings from the Lone Star State!

  3. Some of the bravest people in their faith are younger people. I am generally more in tune with the people in their 30s or younger. People my age; 60s, 50s and older, are too often trapped in their narrow doctrines, traditions & Lord help us, Politics. But seldom anything that looks or sounds like the Love of Father. Almost anyone talking about or doing anything that would look like Love, is too often dismissed within the Church (slandered really) as a “Liberal”. Thank you Wayne for providing a space where free discussions of God’s Love is strongly encouraged.

  4. Yeah I would agree with Stephen that young people are not turned off by faith but by religiosity. I think a big part of the problem though is that people don’t really understand the religiosity in their own lives and truly believe they are living out of a relationship with God. Christianity has welcomed the inconsistency and contrast of religion and relationship and have unsuccessfully married them together, forming a whole new false religion. I know that may sound harsh but I truly now believe it. Jesus came, as you said, to provide people with a true picture of the Father to those who did not believe in the game of religion. What did he offer? “Come to me all you who are stressed, burnt out, sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I will give you rest. Cast your (religious) burden on me and I will give you rest in a TRUE relationship of freewill, heart to heart.” Obviously I’ve paraphrased that but I think that was the main point. He wasn’t offering freedom from sinning, He was shutting down the law-makers/keepers, and in the next breath offering the average person freedom from the man enforced consequence (guilt, shame, sacrifices) of being “normal”, or a sinner. I don’t believe a God who put two innocents in a garden and then moved the devil in next door has as much a problem with “sin” as the religious people say God does. And I believe Jesus clearly confirms that by his interactions, forgiveness, friendship, and even a future meeting in paradise with a hanging criminal. People have a problem with the sin of people and keep score according to their idea of the rules while God fully understands and loves us regardless of “the wretched machine we are trying to drive” (CS Lewis). I remember it being said at least 30 years ago that 10% did 90% of the work in the church, well what do think the number is today? And why? Because it’s work!! Jesus said come to me and I’ll give you rest and christianity turned that into work and ministry and evangelism and a damn purpose. The 90% had it right to just hang out and take it all in from the Martha’s! lol Salvation, according to Jesus, is simply knowing God, heart to heart, and Jesus said it was the Father who would draw people to Himself, so why are we concerned with who we woo or don’t woo or the reason why? Because christianity told us to, not Jesus, not the Father, but a religion attempting to box miracles, relationship how-to’s, and nice feelings, duplicate, and repeat…and this is supposed to nurture a heart to a heart relationship that goes beyond words as the best relationships do…this is a problem to say the least. I didn’t mean to but just as my kids were becoming adults in their high school years something happened to me and I started over with my faith, and I went from being a dad with the answer to a dad who became a friend trying to figure out life and meaning and especially myself. The day I stopped being concerned about letting my light shine…my light began to shine…for real…by itself. Isn’t that funny. “Let your light shine, be salt”, they say…like salt or light has a choice lol.

  5. Burns, that got me thinking about sheep and of Jesus saying that he is the good shepherd, so I looked up the passage just in case maybe we’re all supposed to be sheep, which is how I’ve often heard that taught but it never made much sense to me actually as I do not see myself as a sheep type yet I think Jesus and I are totally cool. Check this out:

    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

    Good news! The story isn’t instructing us to be sheep like the “hired hands” told us it was! Looks like maybe the sheep analogy is intended to warn about getting in a pen with a hired hand instead of the Real Deal. lol

Comments are closed.