Title: Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults and Leaving the Faith…and How to Bring Them Back
Author: Drew Dyck
There are six types of people who leave the church: postmodernists, recoilers, modernists, neo-pagans, rebels, and drifters. Once one figures out what kind of leaver they are talking to (by listening to their story of why they left), they can figure out the ways to speak to that person to “clear a path” back to the church. For example, for a “recoiler,” Dyck says, “once you’ve established that the person fits the description of a recoiler, dispense with arguments. Concentrate on learning that person’s story. When you hear how they were hurt, empathize with their pain.” (page 65) And for the drifters, he says, “one of the major reasons they drifted away is because the relational bonds to committed Christians were weak or nonexistent. In order to win them back, we must rectify that destructive isolation. When you bring them to church, seek to widen their circle of Christian friends.” (page 177) But ultimately, Dyck reminds us, “they won’t come back to God because of your words or actions; God must move in their hearts. Only the Father of lights can dispel darkness. Once he does, the best we can hope to do is gently lead them home.” (page 183) And for Dyck, this leading is relationship-based. . “All the words in the world won’t matter if we don’t forge these kinds of loving relationships with the leavers in our lives.” (page 184)
Martha Korienek is Associate Rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Burlingame, CA.