Why Young Adults Stop, Continue, and Restart Attending Church

LifeWay Research recently discovered why 70% of Protestant young adults ages 18-22 stop attending church regularly for at least a year, why 30% continue attending church, and why 75% of those who dropout return to church at ages 23-30.


  • 27% say they simply wanted a break from church
    >> 20% planned on taking a break from church once they finished high school
  • 25% say they moved to college and stopped attending church
  • 23% say work responsibilities prevented them from attending
  • 22% say they moved too far away from the church to continue attending
  • 22% became too busy, though still wanted to attend
  • 17% chose to spend more time with friends outside the church

Relationships are often the glue that keep people in church or serve as the attraction to begin attending again following a period of absenteeism. Many people are deeply influenced by friends and loved ones.
– Brad Waggoner :: VP of Research & Ministry Development :: LifeWay


  • 65% say church was a vital part of their relationship with God
  • 58% say they wanted the church to guide their decisions in everyday life
  • 50% say they felt that church was helping them become a better person
  • 42% were committed to the purpose and work of the church


  • 51% were influenced by the encouragement of either family or friends
    >> 39% say parents or family members encouraged them to attend
    >> 21% say friends or acquaintances encouraged them to attend
  • 34% simply felt a desire to return
    >> 41% women
    >> 22% men
  • 28% felt that God was calling them to return to the church
    >> 34% women
    >> 18% men
  • 24% had children and felt it was time for them to start attending
    >> 31% women
    >> 13% men
  • 20% got married and wanted to attend with their spouse

As Brad Waggoner put it, relationships are a powerful factor in church attendance. How can your church create a stronger, friendlier community? How can you build relationships?